Groveport Madison boys basketball coach Ryan Grashel saw plenty of balance from his team when it came to scoring through the Cruisers' first four games.
Consistency is high on Grashel's wish list as well, and he hopes that is something that continues to develop as the team enters a challenging portion of the schedule.
Groveport was 2-2 overall before playing Grove City on Dec. 17 and is 1-1 in the OCC-Capital Division entering a Friday, Dec. 20, visit to New Albany, which comes in at 5-1 overall and 1-1 in the league and already is more than halfway to matching its eight-win total from last season.
"We have to find consistent play," Grashel said. "I want to see those guys consistently averaging 13 and 14 points a game. Getting a high-point game where a guy pours in 25 or 26 is great, but if we consistently can have four guys score 14, we're going to have a lot of success. We have a few guys in mind (to step up), but until we as a unit concentrate on getting them the ball, we could struggle.
"I am fine with leaning on multiple guys, but nobody can disappear on any night."
Tymire Jones' 19 points led the Cruisers to a season-opening 50-46 win at Franklin Heights on Dec. 6 and Scotty Lomax had 21 points the next afternoon in a 58-49 win at Hilliard Darby, but Groveport ran into a buzzsaw Dec. 10 in its home opener against perennial power Pickerington Central.
Jones and Elyjah Aekins each had seven points to lead the Cruisers in a 90-44 loss, in which Central led 8-0 within the first two minutes and 48-18 at halftime. The Tigers have won seven Division I district championships since 2012 and are seeking their third state tournament berth in four seasons.
"Rebounding was No. 1 on our list (entering the Central game) and No. 2 was not turning (the ball) over and we didn't do well at either of those things," Grashel said. "Anything else is not relevant whenever you don't rebound the basketball and you turn it over at a high rate like we did. There's not a lot we can do offensively or defensively if we turn it over and get beat on the glass like that. That's just reality."
Abubakar Diallo's 16 points paced Groveport in a 54-52 home loss to Canal Winchester on Dec. 13 in which the Cruisers outscored the Indians 31-16 in the second half.
The Cruisers had their first two games postponed, against Westland on Nov. 27 and at St. Charles on Dec. 3, because of the football team's run to the Division I, Region 3 final.
"We played better against Darby, but we didn't do that well (against Franklin Heights). We have a lot of practicing to do and things to fix," said Aekins, who missed the team's first two games as he nursed a knee injury from football season. "We expect to be balanced. We have a lot of guards so we have the capability to get around defenders. Most of the season, I think a lot of scoring will come from a lot of guys."
Like Aekins, guard John Motton also joined the team after football season.
Groveport also has a home game Saturday, Dec. 21, against a Granville team that knocked off defending Division II district champion Hartley 49-41 on Dec. 10 and a league showdown Jan. 3 at home against three-time defending OCC-Capital champion Newark.
"Grashel's trying to drill us about getting by defenders. He wants us to drive and be able to finish or kick out and create for other people off the dribble," Aekins said. "It's a big adjustment (to change the style of play). Last year, we had different guys, so we played differently. This year, we have more guards because we don't have a true big. This is a different transition."
Girls basketball team tried to snap skid
After a 2-0 start, the girls basketball team was 2-3 overall before playing Grove City on Dec. 17 and will try to even its OCC-Capital record when it plays host to New Albany on Friday, Dec. 20.
Casey Humphrey had a standout week last week despite the Cruisers losing twice, 65-31 at Pickerington Central on Dec. 10 and 66-31 at Canal Winchester three nights later.
Humphrey had a game-high 20 points against the Tigers, who were Division I state runners-up last year and state champions two years ago, and 12 points against the Indians. Alauna Nguyen added 11 points against Canal Winchester.
Groveport scored 35 points or fewer in four of its first five games, the exception being a 52-32 win over Franklin Heights to open league play Dec. 6. Otherwise, the Cruisers, who are 1-2 in the OCC-Capital, averaged 32.3 points before playing Grove City.
Humphrey averaged a team-leading 13.6 points through five games, ahead of Sha'Ron Whatley (12.0).
A Dec. 3 league game at Big Walnut was suspended because of a power outage and is scheduled to resume Jan. 14. The teams also will meet Jan. 10 at Groveport.
Nelson leads wrestlers at Logan
Jake Nelson won the 220-pound championship in the Logan Invitational on Dec. 14, leading the wrestling team to 178 points and second place out of 16 teams as Fairfield Union won (237).
Nelson was the top seed in his weight class and went 4-0, defeating Chillicothe Unioto's Timothy Diamond 12-4 in the final.
Aden Gartin (106) and Eli Jackson (113) earned runner-up finishes.
Gartin was pinned by Nelsonville-York's Coalton Flowers in 5 minutes, 3 seconds in his final, while Jackson was pinned in 4:32 in his final by Gallipolis Gallia Academy's Todd Elliott.
The Cruisers have a dual Thursday, Dec. 19, at Teays Valley and will resume tournament competition Dec. 27 and 28 at the West Jefferson Invitational Tournament.
Below are the coming schedules for the Groveport Madison boys basketball, girls basketball and bowling teams:
*Dec. 20 -- At New Albany
Dec. 21 -- Home vs. Granville
*Dec. 20 -- Home vs. New Albany
Dec. 21 -- At Watkins Memorial
*Dec. 20 -- Reynoldsburg at Holiday Lanes