Notebook: Central Crossing Comets boys basketball team remains optimistic despite struggles

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Through nine games, junior forward Isaiah Bridges was averaging 8.0 points and leading the Central Crossing boys basketball team in rebounds (5.7) and blocks (1.3).

The Central Crossing boys basketball team was inexperienced coming into the season, and the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic hasn’t done the Comets any favors. 

The squad was winless through nine games and 0-5 in the OCC-Buckeye Division before facing Pickerington Central on Jan. 29 to begin the second round of league play. 

The Comets had a 10-day quarantine, returning for a 55-33 loss to Central on Jan. 19. Now they will be making up for that lost time when they play eight games in 13 days, beginning Feb. 1 against Franklin Heights. 

“Starting next week, we have eight games in two weeks,” coach Neil Hohman said. “I’m not sure if it’s good. We rarely have four games in a week, so we’ll see how we handle it.” 

The Comets returned just one player with much varsity experience in senior forward Tristen Needham, who scored 40 points in 22 games last season. This year he was averaging 7.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists through nine games. 

Senior guard Jeremy Burns led the team with 11.2 points per contest, while 6-foot-6 junior forward Isaiah Bridges was adding eight points and leading the squad in rebounds (5.7) and blocks (1.3). Senior guard Tyler Terrell was averaging a team-high 1.8 assists. 

“We have to work to get better offensively,” said Hohman, whose team was averaging 38.6 points. “A lot of it has to do with finding the open guy in rhythm to score. Much of it has been timing issues.” 

Burns led the Comets with 22 points, including four 3-pointers, in a 61-47 loss to Westland on Jan. 26. Needham scored eight and Bridges added seven. 

“It seems like it’s been a struggle since we had the 10 days off,” Hohman said. “The guys have got to keep working to get better. I think the focus is on getting better. They come in to work and work hard and have fun with it. … No one is giving up. They aren’t going through the motions.” 

The Comets play OCC-Buckeye games at Newark on Feb. 5 and at home against Groveport on Feb. 9. They also play at home Feb. 6 against Grove City. 

Grove City's Regan Mitchell, top, battles Thomas Worthington's Channing Thornton in a 120-pound match earlier this season. The Greyhounds, who are seeking their first league title since 2005, close the OCC schedule Feb. 11 as host to Westland.

•The Grove City wrestling team continued its pursuit of its first OCC title since the 2005 season.  

Grove City was 15-2 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Ohio under second-year coach Ryan Mitchell before facing Gahanna on Jan. 28 and will close its league schedule Feb. 11 against visiting Westland.  

Before facing Gahanna, Braxton Sheets was 14-1 at 120 pounds, Brayden Benson was 11-0 at 182, Slade Waller was 13-3 at 126, Carlin Hamilton was 12-2 at 195, A.J. Stoll was 12-5 at 132, Drew Palmer at 113 and Triston Beane at 138 were 11-3 and Isaac Carter was 10-4 at 220.  

Grove City went 3-0 in a quad Jan. 23 at Olentangy Orange, beating Worthington Kilbourne 65-18, Orange 41-32 and Buckeye Valley 54-15.  

“The best thing I see happening is that some of our athletes are beginning to embrace the grind,” Mitchell said. “Not necessarily enjoying it, but they’re committing to the difficult job of putting their body and mind through hardship in order to grow, and they’re gravitating toward others in the room who are doing the same.  

“As a coach, that’s really exciting to see, because when that starts to happen, your program can really take strides.”  

–Frank DiRenna  

•Hannah Jennings led the Central Crossing gymnastics team during a six-team meet Jan. 25 at Hilliard Darby. 

Jennings was 15th in the all-round (30.65) as the Comets finished third (117.025) with the host Panthers winning (135.95). She was seventh on the balance beam (8.25), eighth on the vault (7.6) and 10th on the floor exercise (8.45). 

Emily Dech was 18th in the all-around (29.35) led by her seventh-place finish in the vault (7.7), and Hope Groves was 20th in the all-around (29.025) and ninth in the vault (7.5). 

Taylor Redden was 23rd in the all-around (27.75) led by a ninth-place effort in the vault (7.5). 

Central Crossing is next scheduled to compete in the OCC-Cardinal meet Feb. 13 at a site to be determined. 

–Scott Hennen 

•The Grove City swimming and diving team has had a limited meet schedule because of the pandemic, but coach Amy Miller is hoping for a strong finish as the postseason nears.  

The Greyhounds – who were scheduled to have a virtual meet Jan. 28 and will recognize their seniors during a meet Feb. 2 at the Grove City YMCA – are slated to compete against Wellington on Feb. 6 at the Columbus Aquatics Center and Hilliard Davidson on Feb. 9 at the Grove City YMCA.  

Grove City’s first two meets included a virtual competition against Hilliard Bradley on Dec. 30.  

“Crazy as the season has been, we still hope to get as many swimmers as possible to district,” Miller said. “With only 24 (individual) swimmers and 16 relays qualifying for (district), it’s going to be a little challenging. We’re still going strong in practice and staying positive.”  

Division I sectional meets are Feb. 13, with the district meet is Feb. 21 at Bowling Green.  

–Frank DiRenna 

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