Christopher Anthony was three years away from high school when another player who he'd soon get to know would help change the fortunes of the Harvest Prep boys basketball team.

Entering the 2013-14 season, David Dennis Jr. transferred in from Hilliard Darby for his junior season to join his father, David Dennis Sr., who was in his second season as coach.

The addition of Dennis Jr. helped the Warriors move past a dark period in program history.

Harvest Prep went 7-15 in Dennis Sr.'s first season as coach in 2012-13, two seasons after it finished as Division IV state runner-up, only to have the trophy taken away by the Ohio High School Athletic Association because the Warriors had used an ineligible player.

In addition to helping Harvest Prep make two state tournament appearances, Dennis Jr. has served as one of the mentors for Anthony, a 6-foot senior guard who recently became central Ohio's first 2,000-point career scorer since 2016 Northland graduate Seth Towns.

"It's crazy," Anthony said. "I was in my sixth-grade year and (Dennis Jr.) came (to Harvest Prep) for his junior year, and then my seventh-grade year was when he was a senior, so it was kind of big-time for me to be able to watch him. To see how he went out and supported his guys and see how he's a great leader, it was a great learning tool for me to have right there. We talk all the time. He gives me tips and we chat it up."

Anthony became the program's all-time leading scorer early in his junior year and reached 2,000 points on a 3-pointer with 6 minutes, 23 seconds left in the second quarter of the Warriors' 63-51 victory over Zanesville Rosecrans on Jan. 17.

He finished the game with 32 points and then made six 3-pointers in a 33-point performance in a 74-72 overtime loss to Olentangy Liberty on Jan. 18 before scoring 31 in a 96-44 win over Grove City Christian on Jan. 21.

The Warriors are 14-3 overall and 8-0 in the MSL-Cardinal Division and Anthony had 36 points in a 101-49 victory over Fairfield Christian on Jan. 25 to raise his total to 2,125. Harvest Prep has won 43 consecutive league games and continues league action Friday, Jan. 31, at Fisher Catholic.

According to the OHSAA's website, no player from the Central District has reached 2,200 career points.

Dennis Jr. was the program's previous all-time leader with about 1,300 career points despite playing just two seasons with the Warriors. He went on close his collegiate career at Division II Nova Southeastern in 2018-19 as one of only two players in NCAA history across all divisions with at least 1,800 career points, 600 career rebounds, 700 career assists and 300 career steals.

"(Reaching 2,000 career points) is amazing, and he's earned it," Dennis Sr. said of Anthony. "He's a coach in the locker room when I'm not there. They love him. He has a different approach than most leaders, but he's still effective and he does a great job."

Anthony, who lives on the east side of Columbus, has attended Harvest Prep since kindergarten. One of his siblings, Chrissy Anthony, is a freshman on the Warriors' girls basketball team, and his father, Christopher Anthony Sr., is a 1999 Eastmoor graduate who played basketball at the prep level.

His mother, Kenneacka Anthony, was celebrating her birthday on the day he scored his 2,000th career point.

"She gives her life for me, so me going out and be able to do this right now for her on her birthday, that's a good accomplishment," Anthony said. "I'm a family guy."

Dennis Jr. helped the Warriors go 26-2 with a state semifinal appearance in the 2013-14 season and 25-5 with a state runner-up finish in 2014-15. During Anthony's first three seasons, Harvest Prep went 75-9 with a Division III state semifinal finish in 2017-18 and the state championship last season.

"He's been here since kindergarten, so for him to be able to accomplish this by being a (Harvest Prep) lifer and giving his best and the way he's done it is nothing but amazing for him," Dennis Sr.

Anthony was named state co-Player of the Year each of the past two seasons and has seven college scholarship offers, although he isn't planning to make his college decision until after the season.

Anthony is averaging 26.7 points while no other player on the roster is averaging in double digits.

"It's work every day and we're making ourselves better every day," Anthony said. "We are a state championship team and we show it every day, in and out of practice, no matter if it's weight room or personal practice. We've got a good chance to go far this year."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek