Grandview Heights Roundup: Bobcats boys basketball team overcomes four COVID-19 pauses

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Despite four COVID-19 quarantines, Keegan Kearney and Grandview Heights managed to reach a third consecutive district final. The Bobcats faced Patriot Prep on March 5 for a Division IV district championship.

Four COVID-19 quarantines did not keep the Grandview Heights boys basketball team from reaching its third consecutive district final.

The fourth-seeded Bobcats played second-seeded Patriot Prep on March 5 in a Division IV district final. They won district championships the past two seasons, in Division III in 2019 and in Division IV last year.

The latest quarantine came after Grandview lost to Buckeye Valley 61-46 on Feb. 12. The players were not able to work out together as a team until the day of Grandview’s postseason opener, a 59-27 win over 16th-seeded Fairfield Christian on Feb. 27 in the second round at home.

Point guard Danny Claypool could not return from quarantine until March 2, when the Bobcats defeated sixth-seeded Millersport 55-35 in a district semifinal at home.

“My dad got (COVID-19), so I was out for like 15 days and wasn’t able to practice,” said Claypool, who scored nine points in his return. “In the first half (against Millersport), I was really gassed and I needed a couple of breaks. For some reason, in the second half it was a lot better.”

The quarantines limited the string of consecutive games that the Bobcats were able to play. They were 8-9 before facing Patriot Prep, but were entering their third game since the latest break. They had an eight-game uninterrupted stretch from Jan. 15 to Feb. 12.

“I feel that (the four quarantines) really messed with the team chemistry on the floor,” forward Adam Bechtel said. “It seems like we didn’t play more than five games in a row, and that makes it difficult. I thought we were starting to jell as a unit before the last quarantine. We started to pick things up the more we were around each other.”

Coach Ray Corbett said his team played strong defensively, but that has been one of the Bobcats’ traits for more than a month.

“We’ve stressed defense over the last month and I feel like we’ve become a pretty good defensive team,” he said. “We didn’t get a chance to get into our rotations (against Millersport) because we were in foul trouble.

“Our rotations were skewed because of that. We got into trouble when we went deeper into our bench, but Keegan Kearney came off the bench and did a great job.”

Tre Holliman led the Bobcats with 20 points against the Lakers, and Ian Roediger added 13.

Against Fairfield Christian, Ian Gecse scored 20 points, Holliman had 13 and Roediger added 11.

“(Roediger) is a phenomenal kid who’s had a great amount of growth,” Corbett said. “He played mostly freshman last year, and he’s been a huge contributor to our team.”

The district champion advanced to a regional semifinal March 9 at Chillicothe Southeastern against sixth-ranked New Boston Glenwood or Lucasville Valley.

The regional final is March 12 at Southeastern.

“(The quarantines) have made my ulcer bigger,” Corbett said. “Our execution (against Millersport) was not as good as it’s been. We were not very sharp, and we’re going to have to get better. The stakes are going to get higher and the competition is going to get better.”

Girls basketball team

suffers growing pains

With just two seniors and one junior, the girls basketball team finished 6-12 overall and 1-9 in the MSL-Ohio Division.

One of the seniors was Hannah Yochem, a four-year starter at guard who finished with 1,039 career points. She was named first-team all-league after averaging 13.7 points, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals.

The other was guard/forward Rachel Hartman, who was second-team all-league. Hartman averaged 11.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks.

“They’re two incredible athletes that will be sorely missed,” first-year coach Kalee Seagle said. “They’ve given us so much over the last four seasons.

“You can’t replace two players like them, but instead the girls have to do the roles that they’re comfortable doing. The experience they brought us as four-year starters is immeasurable.”

Junior forward Sasha Pomerants (7.1 rebounds) was honorable mention all-league. Also expected to return are sophomore forward Chai Dobbs-Euans and sophomore point guard Melana Pomerants.

“We’ll be young again next year,” Seagle said. “I feel like it could have been a lost season, but the girls continued to give maximum effort. I saw a lot of improvement with our younger kids and they played big minutes. We need to put the younger kids in a position to succeed.”

Sophomore Maddox Baker is expected to be one of the top returnees for the Bobcats wrestling team.

Wrestling team ends

season at sectional

Junior Tazio Pintor was the lone participant for the wrestling team in a Division III sectional Feb. 27 at Madison Plains. He went 0-2 at 132 pounds to finish 4-8.

Grandview had a young team that progressed throughout the season. It finished 1-3 in MSL-Ohio competition, defeating Columbus Academy 37-36 on Feb. 5. The Bobcats also defeated Ready 36-30 on Jan. 29.

“It didn’t go well in the league as far as scores,” second-year coach Mike Dodge said. “We beat Academy and we beat Ready and we made progress. Next year we want to win, and we’re excited about it.”

Sophomore Kellen Dowdy (170) was second-team all-league and junior Ian Matney (106) was honorable mention.

Other key performers expected to return are sophomores Logan Bake (152/160), Maddox Baker (152/160) and Walt Donahue (heavyweight).

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GIRLS BASKETBALL

Record: 6-12 overall

MSL-Ohio standings: Worthington Christian (9-0), Bexley (8-2), Whitehall (5-2), Columbus Academy (4-3), Columbus School for Girls (4-5), Buckeye Valley (3-5), Grandview (1-9), Wellington (0-8) 

Seniors lost: Rachel Hartman and and Hannah Yochem

Key returnees: Chai Dobbs-Euans, Melana Pomerants and Sasha Pomerants

Postseason: Lost to Mount Gilead 48-34 in second round of Division III district tournament

WRESTLING

MSL-Ohio standings: Buckeye Valley (3-0), Academy and Whitehall (both 2-2), Bexley (1-2), Grandview (1-3)

Senior lost: Gabhran Downer

Key returnees: Logan Baker, Maddox Baker, Walt Donahue, Kellen Dowdy, Ian Matney and Tazio Pintor

Postseason: Did not score at sectional