The Grove City Christian girls basketball team showed improvement throughout the season under first-year coach Bill Spencer.

"I really enjoyed myself," said Spencer, who was in his 25th season in coaching after previously serving as a coach in the City League. "That school and just that group of girls and just the whole experience was wonderful."

Spencer replaced Mindy Bankey, who remained with the program as an assistant coach.

The Eagles finished 4-18 overall with a 57-26 loss at third-seeded Fairfield Christian on Feb. 18 in the first round of the Division IV district tournament.

Grove City Christian trailed just 19-15 at halftime, but was outscored 22-1 in the third quarter. Sophomore point guard Paige Spencer led the 15th-seeded Eagles with 10 points.

"It was a hard season, but one with growth," Bankey said. "The team was very young with only three seniors, one junior, five sophomores and four freshmen. The girls showed much improvement and much potential."

Senior forward/center Sophia Hoyt averaged a team-high 9.8 points and was named second-team all-MSL-Cardinal Division. Sophomore guard/forward Maddie Anderson was honorable mention all-league.

Senior guard Natalie Bankey provided solid defense and rebounding, according to coach Spencer.

"Sophia and Natalie were outstanding leaders," coach Spencer said. "They did an excellent job for us, and for me in particular."

Other players eligible to return are junior Tara Johnson (post player), sophomores Natalia Flores (guard/forward), Kady Hignite (guard) and Grace Leffel (forward/center) and freshmen Sienna Brunicardi (guard), Lauren Davis (guard), McKenzie Kennedy (guard/forward) and Bella Rivera (post player).

Grove City Christian went 3-9 in the MSL-Cardinal to finish fifth behind champion Berne Union (12-0). The Rockets earned the top seed in the district tournament.

The Eagles' league wins came against Harvest Prep (37-33 in overtime Dec. 17) and Millersport (56-42 on Jan. 18 and 49-48 in overtime Feb. 11).

Grove City Christian also defeated Tree of Life 48-44 on Dec. 7.

"It is my goal to turn that program around and make it one of the best programs in the area and state," coach Spencer said.

Boys basketball team opens district tourney

The 15th-seeded boys basketball team was 6-16 before opening the Division IV district tournament Feb. 25 at 12th-seeded Morral Ridgedale.

The winner plays at second-seeded Wellington or plays host to 18th-seeded Northside Christian in a district semifinal Friday, Feb. 28.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank