Emma Hall's game looks familiar to coach Brian O'Mara as she battles in the paint for the Grandview Heights girls basketball team.
The 5-foot-10 senior forward is the daughter of Steve Hall, a former Ohio State men's basketball player who died of colon cancer in 2015. O'Mara sees the same type of player in Hall.
"I used to play against Steve in the open gym, and he asked me to come back to coaching after I had given that up years and years ago," said O'Mara, who is in his sixth season leading the Bobcats and was an assistant when Hall guided the program. "From being his j.v. coach, I have known Emma since she was a very little girl.
"Steve was never an in-your-face or a flamboyant type of guy. He was very steady and stable and a hard worker. He was one of those guys who would do the dirty work as well. He wasn't afraid to go in there, rebound and get bumped around. I see a lot of that in Emma as well. She doesn't have to be the center of attention. She is just happy doing her job and contributing."
Hall has been a presence inside for the Bobcats since coming off the bench as a freshman. She always has had a knack for coming down with the rebound, averaging 7.2 last season when she was honorable mention all-MSL-Ohio Division. Through 11 games this season, she was averaging 6.0 per contest.
"I don't know, I just go after the ball when I can," said Hall, who also was averaging 3.0 points and 2.0 blocks. "A lot of girls don't realize how important it is to box out. It's like my one thing in basketball.
"My dad always taught me about that. He said it was the most important thing he could teach me about the game. He would always say, 'God gave you a butt to box out.' I was taught that from a young age."
Hall was timid as a freshman, working to find her role. The Bobcats now have a young team, so Hall finds herself in a mentorship role.
"I have a lot more confidence now," she said. "Coming in as a freshman, I was really scared. I'm much more aggressive now. I wasn't used to playing much against high school girls that were bigger than me. I think I have gotten stronger with the ball now.
"We have a young team so we're still working on meshing together. We have a lot to do, but we're getting there. I really have found that it's important to be positive. I'm not like (junior point guard) Hannah (Yochem), who is definitely our vocal leader on the court. I try to keep everyone positive and excited when things aren't going our way."
O'Mara said Hall has grown into the leader the Bobcats need. Grandview was 5-9 overall and 3-5 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Worthington Christian on Jan. 14.
"She is a stable influence on the team and the girls enjoy spending time with her," he said. "She's not one of those outspoken, yell-at-the-team kind of players. When things are going wrong, she's a calming influence and the girls respect her."
O'Mara also said that "stable influence" brings a reliability that even has him at ease.
"The benefits of having an Emma Hall is you know exactly what you are going to get," he said. "She's going to make very few mistakes, she's going to be very stable -- you never have to worry about her being in foul trouble -- and she is never going to take a bad shot. She's going to play within herself and she knows that her strength is rebounding.
"Emma is such a good rebounder because she sees the ball and she sees the whole floor. As a result when the shot goes up, she just tracks the ball, which typically is what good rebounders do. She doesn't focus on the shooter or lock her vision on one part of the floor. She follows the ball whether it is being passed around or whatever. She goes to get it."
Hall has a 4.23 GPA and plans to attend Ohio State or Dayton to study genetics or molecular biology with an eye toward medical school. She won't be playing college basketball, but hopes to find another outlet for that drive.
"I am going to miss being a part of a team," she said. "Whether it's soccer, track or basketball, I have always been a part of a team all of my life. That's something I'll miss, but hopefully I can join a club team or something like that to fill that gap."
Lachey surpasses 1,000 career points for boys
Luke Lachey scored 30 points in the boys basketball team's 54-33 victory over Bexley on Jan. 7, surpassing 1,000 for his career.
Lachey is the fourth Bobcats player to reach the milestone in coach Ray Corbett's 33 seasons. The other three are 1998 graduate Phil Lovegrove, 2000 graduate Todd Lovegrove and fellow senior Brian Collier.
Lachey also had 14 rebounds and 10 blocked shots for the Bobcats, who were 8-4 overall before playing Westland on Jan. 13.
"Luke needed 19 (points) going into the game, and I was so caught up into the game that we didn't stop and recognize that he passed it," Corbett said. "He just had a great night for us, and it says a lot that we have two 1,000-point scorers on the same team."
Lachey, who will play football at Iowa, had 1,026 points after a 51-47 league loss to Wellington on Jan. 11. Grandview dropped to 3-3 in the MSL-Ohio.
Fergusons lead swimmers in Canton
Phoebe Ferguson paced the girls swimming and diving team in the Northeast Classic on Jan. 11 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
The sophomore placed fifth in the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 7.7 seconds) and 12th in the 100 butterfly (58.32). Annie Volker was 18th in the 100 backstroke (59.75) and 24th in the 200 freestyle (1:59.31).
The Bobcats tied Dresden Tri-Valley for 26th (19 points) behind champion New Albany (311.5) as 44 teams scored.
Senior Charlie Ferguson was eighth in the 100 fly (53.0) and 10th in the 200 IM (1:59.26) for the boys team. He scored all 18 points for Grandview, which tied Amherst Steele for 28th behind champion St. Charles (227) as 42 teams scored.
Below are the coming schedules for the Grandview Heights boys basketball, girls basketball swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
Jan. 18 -- Home vs. Galion Northmor
*Jan. 21 -- Home vs. Columbus Academy. The Bobcats defeated the Vikings 51-44 on Dec. 7.
*Jan. 18 -- At Buckeye Valley. The Bobcats lost to the Barons 32-31 on Dec. 6.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 17 -- Hartley at Columbus Aquatics Center
Jan. 16 -- At Columbus Academy with Utica and Watterson
Jan. 18 -- Ron Thomas Sr. Invitational at Jonathan Alder