The memories he made throughout his career with the Grove City boys basketball team are something senior guard Luke Smith always will cherish.
The 23rd-seeded Greyhounds finished 12-12 overall with a 61-41 loss at 13th-seeded Westerville Central in the second round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 28.
"It went by so fast, four years," Smith said. "I'm going to miss all these guys. ... (Effort) is the mentality you have. We grew up like that. It's been in our family the whole time growing up. That's how we're taught to play, just go hard to the buzzer."
Coach Eric Saxton said giving a strong effort was a trait for his team, which loses five players to graduation.
"That's what Grove City is all about," he said. "We preach that, and our kids buy into it and they do it all the time. They talk to the younger kids about doing it. It's just how you have to play. There's seniors (diving) on the floor all the time."
Grove City was led by junior guard Brock Waits, who finished as one of the top scorers in the area, averaging 19.4 points. He was named first-team all-OCC-Ohio Division and second-team all-district.
Senior guard Cole Crager averaged 10.5 points and a team-high 5.0 rebounds and was special team all-league. Junior guard Alex Coffey averaged 11.3 points and was honorable mention all-league.
Other players eligible to return are juniors Jeremiah Bane (guard), Mike Hooffstetter (forward), Cole Keplar (guard) and Caleb Schall (guard) and sophomore Zach Combs (guard).
A highlight this season was winning the Grove City Tip-off Classic, defeating Central 52-43 in the final Nov. 30.
The Greyhounds also swept their school district rivals, defeating Westland 56-41 on Dec. 27 and 83-52 on Feb. 4, Central Crossing 58-44 on Jan. 22 and Franklin Heights 88-50 on Dec. 10.
Grove City went 2-8 in the OCC-Ohio to finish fifth behind champion Gahanna (9-1).
The Greyhounds will compete in a realigned OCC-Ohio next season with Gahanna, New Albany, Pickerington North, Westerville Central and Westland.
Seven wrestlers vie at district
Seven members of the wrestling team competed in the Division I district tournament March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby, with Sean Burns leading the way at 120 pounds.
Burns went 3-2 and finished sixth. He lost the fifth-place match by injury default because of a sprained ankle suffered earlier in the tournament.
Braxton Sheets (113), Brayden Benson (195) and Joey Woolard (heavyweight) all went 2-2. Regan Mitchell (106), Carlin Hamilton (170) and Carson Dunagan (182) all went 0-2.
Grove City tied for 24th (21) behind champion Dublin Coffman (174.5) as 40 teams scored.
"This is a different environment," coach Ryan Mitchell said. "There's a lot of emotions that go into it, so you have to keep your head about you. In some cases we did that OK and, in other cases, I think the moment got to us a little bit. So that's something we're going to have to work on in the offseason and next year to grow."
The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to state Friday, March 13, through Sunday, March 15, at Ohio State.