Grove City Christian boys basketball coach Chris Timlin is hoping a challenging early season schedule will serve his team well in the long run.

After a season-opening 64-39 win over Tree of Life on Dec. 3, the Eagles had lost four consecutive games before playing MSL-Cardinal Division rival Millersport on Dec. 17. Grove City Christian was 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the league.

"The coaching staff and I knew that December was going to be a very difficult month," Timlin said. "We only have two home games. We knew that it was going to be tough sledding. We knew coming out of the gate that December was going to be difficult, but the point differential is unacceptable. The way these games are being finished is unacceptable. Our guys have to be able to stop the bleeding."

The Eagles' first four losses came against Worthington Christian 83-46 on Dec. 5, Harvest Prep 74-50 on Dec. 7, Newark Catholic 53-40 on Dec. 9 and Zanesville Rosecrans 83-43 on Dec. 13.

"We're only five games in," Timlin said before playing Millersport. "We're not in any way pessimistic about how this season is going to go. We still feel we're going to achieve a lot of things. We feel like our best basketball is yet to come. I'm very confident and they know I'm confident in them as well. They need to have a little more self-confidence. We're just going to keep plugging away."

Timlin said senior guard Brayden Holbrook has been a bright spot. Through five games, he was averaging a team-best 12.4 points with a season-high 18 against Rosecrans.

Garrett Baker added 13 points against the Bishops.

Holbrook scored 11 points against Newark Catholic.

Timlin said he's been impressed with the play of freshman forward Braydan Taylor off the bench.

Grove City Christian will close out 2019 with a league game Saturday, Dec. 21, at Berne Union and by competing in the Indianapolis Covenant Christian Holiday Tournament on Dec. 27 and 28.

"I'm frustrated, but we never pack it in at Grove City Christian," Timlin said.

Spencer earns first win with girls team

Girls basketball coach Bill Spencer earned his first win with the program with a 48-44 victory over visiting Tree of Life on Dec. 7.

Sophie Hoyt led the Eagles with 12 points.

"It was low key," Spencer said. "No celebrations yet. It felt good because it shows them that they're capable and it gives them something new to shoot for. It gives them a little more self-confidence because it's a really tough league and I have a really young team."

Grove City Christian was 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the MSL-Cardinal before playing Harvest Prep on Dec. 17. They also have a league contest Friday, Dec. 20, at Fisher Catholic.

Paige Spencer scored 15 points and Maddie Anderson added 11 in a 76-39 loss at Fairfield Christian on Dec. 14.

"We have a long ways to go yet, but the girls are really buying in to what we're trying to show them," Spencer said. "It's going to be a work in progress."