In his 21st season as a member of the Grove City boys basketball coaching staff, Eric Saxton realizes there are high standards for his program.
The Greyhounds are using that as motivation as they look to improve on last year's 10-14 finish in Saxton's first season as head coach.
Saxton served as an assistant the previous 19 years under Greg Waits, who is in his second season as an assistant.
"Our goal is to win every single game we play," Saxton said. "We game plan for that. There are very few teams that accomplish that. We're realistic. We know we have a heck of a division in the OCC-Ohio, but we plan on winning 90 percent of our non-league games. ... A winning season is a good goal to set."
The Greyhounds opened by winning the annual Grove City Tip-Off Tournament. They defeated Hamilton Township 67-55 in the first round Nov. 27 as junior Brock Waits had 26 points, junior Alex Coffey scored 21 and senior Cole Crager had 12.
Grove City defeated Westerville Central 52-43 in the final Nov. 30. Waits scored 24 points and was named the tournament's MVP, while Coffey had 12 points and Crager added 11.
The Greyhounds begin OCC-Ohio play Friday, Dec. 6, against visiting Lancaster. Last season, Grove City and Lancaster tied for fifth in the league at 1-9, behind co-champions Pickerington Central and Pickerington North (both 9-1).
"I believe our division is the best in the state of Ohio," Saxton said. "It's stacked again."
The Greyhounds' returnees are led by Waits, a 6-foot guard who averaged a team-high 13.7 points last season and had a team-best 63 3-pointers and 30 steals. He was named second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district in Division I.
Also back is Crager, a 6-1 guard who averaged 10.1 points and a team-best 5.2 rebounds and was special mention all-league.
"We're looking pretty solid," he said. "We're excited about the returnees and we're ready to get the season started."
Coffey, a 6-1 guard, was honorable mention all-league.
"Our top three scorers are back from last year and those guys played a lot of minutes," Saxton said of Waits, Crager and Coffey. "It's nice to have them back."
Senior Luke Smith, a 6-0 guard and another key returnee, is looking forward to league play.
"It's tough every year," he said. "You just have to go out and play the best you can, give the best effort. We might be smaller than everybody, but we just have to have a bigger heart."
Also back are senior Trevor Goss (6-2, forward) and junior Michael Hooffstetter (6-1, forward).
Other players are seniors Jake Carroll (5-9, guard) and Jason Grimm (6-2, guard), juniors Jeremiah Bane (5-10, guard), Cole Keplar (6-3, guard) and Caleb Schall (5-10, guard) and sophomore Zach Combs (6-1, guard).
Bane missed his sophomore season with a neck injury.
"Jeremiah will help us," Saxton said. "He's a real tough kid, a hard worker. That junior class is pretty talented. Jeremiah brings a lot of leadership."