Grove City boys basketball coach Eric Saxton is beginning to see more consistency and balance as his team heads toward the Division I district tournament.
While Brock Waits, Cole Crager and Alex Coffey continue to be the leading contributors, Saxton has seen other players step up.
With Crager out of the lineup with an illness, the Greyhounds received solid performances from their reserves in an 83-52 win at Westland on Feb. 4. Waits scored 36 points and Coffey had 11, with Zach Combs and Luke Smith each adding nine.
"With our second-leading scorer, our leading rebounder, leading assist guy (Crager) home sick, we talked about our bench needing to contribute," Saxton said. "Our bench had 27 points and that's big for us."
It was the second victory at Westland this season, as the Greyhounds also beat the Cougars 56-41 on Dec. 27 in the first round of the Best of the South-West tournament.
Grove City was 10-9 overall before playing New Albany on Feb. 11.
The Greyhounds are 2-7 in the OCC-Ohio Division heading into their league finale Friday, Feb. 14, against visiting Pickerington North. They lost to the Panthers 70-40 on Jan. 10.
Grove City closes the regular season Saturday, Feb. 15, at home against Teays Valley.
The Greyhounds are seeded 23rd for the district tournament and will play host to 24th-seeded Watkins Memorial in the first round Feb. 22.
"We're getting a lot better," Waits said. "We've been playing really good basketball and I think we're going to have a really good tournament run. ... We're getting better defensively every game. We're scoring the ball, too, and rebounding."
Through 18 games, Waits was among the area leaders in scoring, averaging 20.1 points. He scored a career-high 41 in an 85-72 win over Groveport on Dec. 17.
"Brock has always been a good standstill shooter," Saxton said. "What he's working really hard on is his off-the-dribble scoring and being able to score in small windows of space. Since he's such a great shooter, we try to get situations where the defense has to have long closeouts on him and when they do, they're vulnerable to getting beat off the dribble."
Waits credits the basics for his strong season.
"It's just hard work, working out every day, trying to get better for my team," he said.
Also through 18 games, Crager was averaging 10.7 points and Coffey was averaging 10.3. Crager led in rebounding (5.5), followed by Coffey (3.9) and Smith (3.5).
Waits and Coffey each had 17 points in an 81-49 loss at Pickerington Central on Feb. 7. Crager again missed the game with an illness.
"Being (10-9) is right about where I thought we'd be at this point," Saxton said.
Wrestling team splits dual tourney matches
The wrestling team split a pair of matches in the Division I, Region 6 team dual tournament Feb. 8 at Hilliard Darby.
The ninth-seeded Greyhounds defeated eighth-seeded New Carlisle Tecumseh 45-35 before losing to top-seeded Upper Arlington 60-18 in a quarterfinal.
UA went on to defeat Lancaster 38-30 in the regional final to advance to the state tournament Sunday, Feb. 16, at Ohio State.
"After being really healthy for the first half of the season, we've lost seven starters over the past few weeks to injury, so we really have to scrap for every point right now," coach Ryan Mitchell said. "We competed and fought our way into the second round by defeating a tough Tecumseh team.
"Getting eliminated in the quarterfinals was disappointing, but Upper Arlington has a really good squad. It shows just how far we have to go to be the team we want to be."
Against Tecumseh, winners by pin were Brayden Benson at 195 pounds (1 minute, 29 seconds), Isaac Carter at 220 (1:09) and Joey Woolard at heavyweight (2:52).
Six matches were decided by forfeit.
A.J. Stoll won by pin at 126 (3:54) against UA.
The Greyhounds are 2-2 in the OCC-Ohio as they prepare to close league action Thursday, Feb. 13, at home against Gahanna. They also will compete in the All-North tournament Saturday, Feb. 15, at Dublin Jerome.
"This has been a season of growth in the room in terms of the mindset and the work ethic of many of the kids," Mitchell said. "I'm a big believer in you get out what you put in, and those who are buying in and putting in the work are seeing the results. We are closing in on the postseason and that's where the effort pays off. We'll see if we have done enough Feb. 29."
Grove City will compete in a 13-team sectional Feb. 29 at Newark.
Routh leads girls swim team at sectional
Hannah Routh led the girls swimming team in a Division I sectional Feb. 8 at Upper Arlington, earning a pair of individual berths to district Thursday, Feb. 13, at Ohio State.
Routh finished third in the 100-yard backstroke (1:00.35) and is seeded 15th at district. She placed fifth in the 100 butterfly (59.69) and is seeded 17th at district.
Routh, Madelyn Holcomb, Audrey Bueter and Mya Holcomb were fourth in the 400 free relay (3:56.72) and are seeded 16th at district. They also placed fifth in the 200 medley relay (2:03.62) and are seeded 24th at district.
Grove City finished fifth (78) of 12 teams at sectional behind champion Upper Arlington (403).
The boys team qualified a pair of relays for district.
Gregory Kingsbury, Joseph Martin, Jacob Antonelli and Gunnar Byas were third at sectional in the 400 free relay (3:35.12) and are seeded 17th at district. They also were fourth in the 200 medley relay (1:48.16) and are seeded 19th at district.
The Greyhounds finished 10th (62) of 14 teams at sectional behind champion UA (467).
At district, the top two placers in each swimming event automatically advance to the state meet Feb. 21 and 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded in each event based on district times statewide.
Below is the coming schedule for the Grove City girls basketball team:
Feb. 15 -- At sixth-seeded Westerville North in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays host to 42nd-seeded Pickerington North in second round Feb. 21. The Greyhounds are seeded 37th.