Notebook: Seniors left mark on Grove City Greyhounds boys basketball program

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Cole Keplar was one of nine seniors on the Grove City boys basketball team. Keplar was honorable mention all-league after leading the Greyhounds in rebounding at 5.1 per game.

Although his team never reached its full potential, Grove City boys basketball coach Eric Saxton witnessed several highlights this season.  

Those bright spots included senior guard Brock Waits reaching 1,000 points for his career in mid-January and later becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer.  

Waits finished with 1,313 career points, moving past 2000 graduate Josh Helm, who finished with 1,287.   

“Brock definitely left his mark on this program,” Saxton said. “I’m proud to be his coach.”  

Waits – who was one of nine seniors – led the team in scoring at 17.1 points, followed by senior guards Alex Coffey (11.4) and Caleb Schall (7.4).  

“I told the seniors how much we love them,” Saxton said. “Two of them (Coffey and Waits) have played an awful lot of minutes for Grove City. I told them moving forward, they’re not our past. They’re what’s going to be pushing us to be better, by trying to emulate what they’ve done for the last three years.”  

Waits was first-team all-league in the OCC-Ohio Division and second-team all-district in Division I.  

Coffey was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district and senior guard Cole Keplar was honorable mention all-league. Keplar led in rebounding at 5.1.  

Seeded 28th in the district tournament, the Greyhounds lost 59-50 to 22nd-seeded Westerville North in the first round Feb. 23 to finish 10-13 overall.  

Grove City went 4-6 in the OCC-Ohio to finish fourth behind champion Gahanna (9-1).  

OCC-Ohio rivals Gahanna and Westerville Central won district titles.  

Players eligible to return include juniors Zach Combs (guard) and James Fuqua (guard) and sophomores Daniel Fetty (guard), Graydon Hutchinson (guard) and Crampton Williams (post player). 

•Sixth-year Central Crossing boys basketball coach Neil Hohman said the season flew by, due in part to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

The 46th-seeded Comets finished 3-16 overall after losing 71-48 to top-seeded Gahanna in the second round of the Division I district tournament. The delayed start to the season and a midseason quarantine broke the year into segments. 

“This season was like a couple seasons in one,” said Hohman, whose team finished sixth (0-10) in the OCC-Buckeye behind champion Pickerington Central (10-0). “We had preseason practicing and then we had to take time off before we started in late December, and then we had a quarantine in the middle of January. Then we had everyone healthy by the end of the season. 

“It was weird because we had different people to work with all the time. It didn’t feel like the normal four-month grind. It seems like the season went by pretty quickly.” 

The Comets had seven seniors, but only forward Tristen Needham entered the season with significant varsity experience. Needham (honorable mention all-league) averaged 6.0 points and 4.3 rebounds. 

Senior guard Jeremy Burns (honorable mention all-district, second-team all-league) led the team in scoring at 11.7. Senior guard Landen Gilchrist added 5.3 points per game, and senior point guard Tyler Terrell finished with a team-best 1.7 assists per contest. 

“We had seven seniors like last year,” Hohman said. “They were good kids that worked hard and wanted to do as much as they could for the team and the school to be successful. They came along and got better as they understood what it takes to play varsity basketball.” 

The Comets had five juniors who gained varsity experience led by forward Isaiah Bridges, who averaged 6.5 points and a team-high 4.7 rebounds. 

Also expected back are junior guards Anthony Coleman, Joe Taylor and Chance Woods and junior forward Eli Fleshman. 

“They all got some good minutes for us, and Isaiah started a lot for us,” Hohman said. “There should be a summertime to help these kids get better, unlike what we experienced last year.” 

–Scott Hennen 

•The future looks bright for the Grove City Christian boys basketball team as the Eagles’ roster included six sophomores and three freshmen.  

Grove City Christian finished 5-15 overall and went 3-11 in the MSL-Cardinal to finish seventh behind champion Harvest Prep (14-0).  

The Eagles endured three quarantines because of the pandemic.  

“We lost way too much gym time this year and our group has so much potential,” coach Chris Timlin said. “Their skill set is through the roof considering how young they all are, so it’s a bit frustrating that we missed so much time. We told the parents that we were going to do everything to play as many games as possible, and we were able to get 20 in.”   

Freshman guard Caleb Ranson led the team in scoring (14.1) and rebounding (9.1), and was second-team all-district and all-league.  

Freshman guard Seth Vaughn averaged 12.9 points and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, while sophomore guard Braydan Taylor averaged 10.9 points and 6.2 rebounds and was honorable mention all-district and all-league.  

Others eligible to return are sophomores James Cuckler IV (forward), Will Lucas (guard), Luke McCoy (forward), Cameron Stedtefeld (guard) and Jimmy Suhayda (forward) and freshman Trenton Timlin (guard).  

Seeded 13th in the Division IV district tournament, the Eagles lost 61-49 to sixth-seeded Millersport in the second round Feb. 27. Both teams had a first-round bye.  

–Frank DiRenna 

Central Crossing's Hannah Jennings will be among the team's top returnees after finishing a team-best 57th in the all-around at the district meet.

•The Central Crossing gymnastics team improved in both place and points scored from last season in the district meet Feb. 27 at Worthington Kilbourne. 

The Comets finished 17th at district with 123.1 points behind co-champions Dublin Jerome and Olentangy Berlin (141.125). A year ago they finished 19th (120.125). 

Hannah Jennings led the squad at district by finishing 57th of 122 participants with 31.325 points in the all-around. The junior tied for 56th on the floor exercise (8.225) and 60th on the uneven bars (7.4). 

Sophomore Emily Dech, who tied for 62nd in the all-around (30.8), tied for 48th on the floor (8.325) and 60th on the balance beam (8.05).  

Also competing all-around were junior Hope Groves (76th, 30.1), junior Taylor Redden (93rd, 28.1) and freshman Aalieyah Horne (98th, 27.475). 

Central Crossing was seventh (4 points, 0-5) in the final OCC-Cardinal standings, behind champion Berlin (28, 6-0). 

The Comets finished seventh (121.575) behind first-place Berlin (139.45) in the league meet Feb. 20 at Thomas Worthington. Jennings was 20th in the all-around (31.025), and Dech was 21st in the all-around (31.0). 

Groves was 24th in the all-around (28.95), and Redden was 25th in the all-around (28.425). 

–Scott Hennen 

•The Grove City gymnastics team also ended its season at the district meet.

Junior Morgan Waterman led the Greyhounds in the all-around, finishing 47th (31.775).  

Senior Genavieve Kuhn was 69th (30.45), followed by junior Emma Claypool (85th, 28.95) and sophomore Emma Weaver (tied for 86th, 28.925),   

Grove City finished 18th (120.1) behind co-champions Dublin Jerome and Olentangy Berlin (141.125) in the team standings. 

The Greyhounds were fifth (8, 1-4) in the final OCC-Central standings behind champion Dublin Coffman (24, 4-0). 

“I’m super proud of them,” coach Mark Hartley said. “With everything we’ve gone through this year, I couldn’t be prouder. I’m getting all teared up. With the seniors, it’s hard. We should be pretty competitive next year.”  

–Frank DiRenna 

Tyler Gleason has been named Grove City boys soccer coach after leading Groveport the past two seasons. Gleason graduated from Grove City in 2007 and played goalie for the Greyhounds.

•When Grove City graduate Tyler Gleason began coaching high school boys soccer, he hoped to one day guide the program at his alma mater.   

Gleason, 32, will get that opportunity after being named to succeed Bryan Mulvany, who stepped down after seven seasons.   

“When I got out of college, I coached for the Columbus Crew junior program and about two and a half years after doing that, I switched over to the high school game because I really liked the community feel about the high school game and I really wanted to eventually coach at Grove City,” Gleason said. “Fast forward, I got the opportunity and had to jump on it.”   

A 2007 graduate, Gleason played goalie for the Greyhounds, helping them win the OCC-Cardinal Division title in 2004. Gleason and Mulvany, a 2005 graduate, were teammates on that team.   

After graduating in 2012 from Ohio Dominican, where he played soccer, Gleason was a coach in the Crew program before taking over the Central Crossing boys team in 2013.   

He coached the Comets for five seasons before serving as an assistant coach at Hilliard Darby in 2018. He then was the coach at Groveport for two seasons, going 18-15-2 and guiding the Cruisers to an OCC-Capital title – the program’s first league championship – in 2019.   

“I really debated on whether I was going to take the job because I’d created some pretty close relationships with players at Groveport,” Gleason said. “It was a really tough conversation to have. You almost feel like you’re abandoning them. I really had a close connection with a lot of the kids, so it was a really tough decision, but this job doesn’t come open very often.”   

The Greyhounds had a winning record four times under Mulvany, who finished 56-52-16 overall and 17-17-5 in the OCC-Ohio. 

–Frank DiRenna 

sports@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekSports 

CENTRAL CROSSING BOYS BASKETBALL 

•Record: 3-19 overall 

•OCC-Central standings: Pickerington Central (10-0), Reynoldsburg (8-2), Newark (6-4), Groveport (4-6), Lancaster (2-8), Central Crossing (0-10) 

•Seniors lost: Mustafa Ahmed, Jeremy Burns, Landen Gilchrist, Tristen Needham, Rudy Risinger, Tyler Terrell and Brandon Woods 

•Key returnees: Isaiah Bridges, Anthony Coleman, Eli Fleshman, Joe Taylor and Chance Woods 

•Postseason: Lost to Gahanna 71-48 in second round of Division I district tournament 

CENTRAL CROSSING GYMNASTICS 

•OCC-Cardinal standings: Olentangy Berlin (28, 6-0), Hilliard Darby (24, 5-1), Dublin Jerome (20, 4-2), Olentangy (18, 3-3), Thomas Worthington (10, 2-4), Marysville (10, 1-5), Central Crossing (4, 0-5) 

•Senior lost: Megan Reedy 

•Key returnees: Emily Dech, Hope Groves, Aalieyah Horne, Hannah Jennings and Taylor Redden 

•Postseason: Finished 17th (123.1) at district behind co-champions Berlin and Jerome (141.125) 

GROVE CITY BOYS BASKETBALL  

•Record: 10-13 overall  

•OCC-Ohio standings: Gahanna (9-1), Westerville Central (8-2), Pickerington North (7-3), Grove City (4-6), New Albany (2-8), Westland (0-10)  

•Seniors lost: Austin Allmon, Tyler Biddle, Alex Coffey, Lukas Hamilton, Mike Hooffstetter, Cole Keplar, Matt Kinney, Caleb Schall and Brock Waits  

•Key returnee: Daniel Fetty  

•Postseason: Lost to Westerville North 59-50 in first round of Division I district tournament  

GROVE CITY GYMNASTICS  

•OCC-Central standings: Dublin Coffman (24, 4-0), Upper Arlington (18, 4-1), Hilliard Bradley (18, 3-2), Olentangy Orange (12, 2-2), Grove City (8, 1-4), Westerville Central (4, 0-5).  

•Seniors lost: Genavieve Kuhn, Sophia Legue, Gianna Nickoloff and Savanna Rudacille  

•Key returnees: Emma Claypool, Morgan Waterman and Emma Weaver  

•Postseason: 18th (120.1) at district behind co-champions Dublin Jerome and Olentangy Berlin (141.125)