The Grandview Heights boys basketball team was fresh off its best performance when the season screeched to an abrupt halt.
The Bobcats dominated 10th-ranked Glouster Trimble 62-32 in a Division IV regional semifinal March 10 at Ohio University, but that would be the last game they would play.
The OHSAA announced March 12 that all remaining winter tournaments were postponed because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. On March 26, the remainder of the postseason was canceled for boys basketball, girls basketball, hockey and wrestling.
The Bobcats were slated to play eighth-ranked Berlin Hiland in a regional final March 13 at OU. A victory would have sent them to their first state semifinal since 1998.
Senior Luke Lachey hated to see the end come, but was able to find a silver lining in the situation.
"We were fortunate to have won that last game and not a lot of people can say that they won the last game they played," said Lachey, a 6-foot-7 forward who is an Iowa football signee. "We won by 30, and I feel confident we were going to (a) state (semifinal).
"It's not the end of the world. It's just sports, and we have to think about everyone's health here."
Senior guard Charlie James shared that sentiment.
"It stinks, but there is obviously nothing we can do about it," he said. "Not many teams get to end the season with a win, so that is a good thing."
The Bobcats finished 22-5 overall, winning their final 11 contests. As the top seed, they won their second consecutive district title and seventh overall by defeating sixth-seeded Fisher Catholic 51-30 on March 5 at Ohio Dominican.
Coach Ray Corbett, who completed his 33rd season, said the team's success came down to its defensive prowess. The Bobcats averaged 59.3 points and surrendered 41.1 per game.
"Our defense improved as the season went along," said Corbett, whose team finished third (8-4) in the MSL-Ohio Division behind co-champions Whitehall and Worthington Christian (both 9-3). "I always thought that our team from 1999 that went 21-4 and reached the (regional tournament) was the best defensive team I had here. I think these guys may have surpassed them.
"Especially in their last 10 games, they showed a physicality, they had active hands and they were well prepared. They had a focus about them that a lot of high school teams don't have. Our success down the stretch was set by the tone of our defense."
Grandview had two four-year starters in Lachey and senior guard Brian Collier, both of whom scored more than 1,000 career points. Collier, a Concord recruit, averaged 21.3 points, 3.2 assists and 2.2 steals and shot 68-for-156 from 3-point range (43.6 percent) in being named first-team all-state, district Player of the Year and first-team all-league.
Lachey averaged 16.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 2.8 assists and 1.8 steals. He was third-team all-state and first-team all-district and all-league.
"First of all, it's the first time since 1997 or 1998 that I have had two kids play as much as Luke and Brian over a four-year period," Corbett said. "It will be strange not having them in the future.
"They both worked hard and led by example. Luke was diving for balls in practice like it was a game. When you see the better players making that kind of effort, it makes it that much easier to coach. When your better players are dogs who don't go all out and buy in, then you're in trouble. Brian and Luke brought it every day."
James (honorable mention all-league) averaged 5.6 points and shot 20-for-57 on 3s (35.1 percent).
Forwards Glenn Cribbs (5.0 rebounds), Darreion Davis and Lance Trares (4.3 points, 2.7 rebounds) round out the senior class.
"(The seniors) all contributed (for) us," Corbett said. "We felt we could put Charlie anywhere and he would guard someone. As the season went on, we knew Glenn was going to provide great defense and rebounding. There wasn't a weak link for us defensively."
Sophomore guard Aiden Leslie started every game and junior forward Adam Bechtel was one of the first players off the bench. Freshmen Ian Gecse (forward) and Tre Holliman (guard) also saw action in the postseason.
"I haven't even started to think about next year," Corbett said. "I know we have some good young kids coming back, but it's tough to think about that now."