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Monday, March 30, 2009

Enrollment Figures: A Drop to Division 3??

The OHSAA published it's enrollment figures that will be used to determine division alignments beginning with the upcoming school year and be used through the 2010-2011 school year.

The numbers for Orrville show a drop in the number of boys in grades 9, 10 and 11 of about 10%. Our current count stands at 211, down from 234 in 2007. So before we even talk about the effect this will have on our various sports teams, the overt theme is that we are losing students, not a good thing when you start talking about state funding dollars.

Basically, every student in our district counts for a certain dollar amount from the state, and less students mean less dollars, and less dollars mean (potentially) less opportunities for our young people.

OK....onto the impact this will have on our sports teams.

Basically no change, we were Division 4 two years ago, we will remain Division 4. The cutoff point 2 years ago between Div. 4 and Div. 5 was 187 boys. Our count would have had to come in below 200 for me to seriously consider a drop down to D5.

One interesting item of note....powerhouse Steubenville looks like they may jump back to Division they checked in with a count of 270, the cutoff point between Div. 4 and Div. 3 in 2007 was 257 boys.

Cardinal Mooney checks in with 252 boys, likely staying put in D4 (of course) for another 2 years. They sure do know how to fly right up to the sun with these counts.

I'm calling it...we're moving to Division 3 in basketball. In 2007, we were 7 boys higher than the cutoff point. With a loss of 23 boys from the 2007 count, we should drop down to D3. Unless there's a big change in the total number of basketball playing schools in the entire state...there should be around 200 teams per division. Our enrollment makes us right around the 425th biggest school in the state, just outside of the top half, and at least from a logic standpoint, a likely D3 team.

This would be kind of bittersweet....if this comes to fruition, no more Fieldhouse games unless we make regionals. This may also explain why Timken is dropping off our schedule, no more need to get time on that floor.

What will be interesting about this...the game at the WQKT/Smitty Classic between Smithville could be a district championship preview....not to mention games against the other WCAL teams. It will certainly renew some old rivalries in the district. I'd like to say that the last time Orrville faced a WCAL team in the tournaments was 1995.

Not much happenning here, we're D3 now, we'll stay D3.

Girls Basketball
Same here....D3 now, and that's where we'll stay.

Same story as in boys basketball...we were close to being D3 in 2007, and with the drop in numbers, a division drop is very likely.

This is of course, all speculative, until the OHSAA sets the cutoff points it's all a guessing game. Here is how the cutoff points were set last time. If we're just going off of past data and past cutoff points, I think a lot of this is a very safe bet.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Master of My (New) Domain

As I've stated goal is to make this site as user friendly as possible.

Well, it just got a whole lot easier. Notice the address bar at the top of your browser?

I'm no longer located at, from this day forward, the site will be hosted exclusively (Click if you want to test it). How will this drastically improve your life?? Allow me to demonstrate...

(The Old) - 25 letters, 2 dots
(The New) - 24 letters, 2 dots're saving 1 whole keystroke. Thank me later.

But, if you want to get real crazy, try this... (dont need to type www.)

That's only 21 letters and 1 about a time saver. Goodbye carpal tunnel syndrome. Think of the ways you could spend that extra second you will save.

What's better? If you have previously bookmarked the old address, it will automatically redirect you to the new site address. So even if you want to keep typing those extra 4 keystrokes, you'll still end up here. You are caught in the tractor beams and there is no escaping.

Now we can make t-shirts and mousepads, and advertise in the fall sprots program. Just don't be surprised is all I'm sayin.

Next order of business, if you notice the box at the top of the page on the right, I'm now giving you the option to have site updates and new posts delivered straight to your inbox. You could theoretically never visit the site again (please don't) and still not miss a beat. Just enter your email in the box and follow the instructions.

As far as plans for the site, a lot of my time lately has been spent getting this address changeover to take. It was a lot more involved that I thought, and I had to switch over to technical support mode for a week or so....but I finally got it right, so now it's onward and upward.

I've got plenty of info coming on one of our spring sports, plans to continue the "Red Rider Football Playoff History" feature, the 3rd and final part of the uniform study, and I guess we'll cover the basketball program too once a list of candidates surfaces, or when a new coach is named. I'll be continuing the ring feature too, I like how the first one turned out.

Keep an eye on Orrviews too......that's right, we're taking the site public. The incubation stage is over. The world, or at least the rest of Orrville, needs to know what loser is writing all of this.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Stat Geekery - OHSAA State Tournament History

OK...if it's not already known, I'm a stat nerd. And what will follow is simply an exercise in total nerdiness.

(Note: How about this handsome dork guy, no resemblance at all, is there?)----------------->

Here's a nice little web find courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch.

Follow this link to view a document detailing every game in Ohio State Tournament History. Now, when I say "State Tournament," I don't mean county sectional games, I'm just talking about games at the state level (semifinals, finals).

It's truly a gold mine of data and history.

Let's shine a local light on this. From looking over this document, we learn the following....

  • The first county team to appear at the state tournament were the great Northwestern teams of the 1950's. They won state in their first appearance in 1958, and were eliminated in the semifinals in 1959 (both in Class A). Up until 1971, the state only had two division in basketball (A & AA)
  • Northwestern was also the first county school to win 2 state titles, adding their 2nd Class A title in 1965.
  • Rittman (yes, Rittman) was the 2nd county school to earn a berth at state in 1966, but they were eliminated in the Class A semifinal round by eventual champ New Lebanon Dixie.
  • Orrville made the county's 3rd appearance in 1980, losing to eventual state champ Hamilton Ross in the Class AA semifinal round.
  • Triway made the first of their school's 4 appearances in 1988 (the first year the state moved to 4 divisions), losing to Tusky Valley in the Div. 3 semifinal round.
  • Triway returned in 1991, losing again in the Div. 2 semifinals to eventual state champ Lexington.
  • Orrville made their 2nd trip to state in 1992, and broke a 27 year Wayne County championship drought by beating Patrick Henry for the Div. 3 title. Orrville was joined by Holmes County's Berlin Hiland, who captured the D4 title.
  • The Red Riders matched Northwestern's two titles with a 2nd title of their own, beating Wheelersburg 79-50 in the Div. 3 title game in 1995.
  • Dalton joined the Red Riders at state in 1995, but could not advance to the title game, losing to eventual state champ Liberty-Benton in Division 4.
  • Orrville returned to Columbus in 1996, won their 2nd championship in a row, and their 3rd title overall, becoming the first team to repeat as champs while moving up a division. The Riders beat Ottowa-Glandorf in the Division 2 finals.
  • Dalton made a 2nd consecutive trip to state in 1996 in Division 4, but again were unable to reach the title game, losing to Van Wert Lincolnview
  • Triway returned in 2005, their first trip since 1991, advancing to the title game but falling to Upper Sandusky in the title game.
  • Triway earned a return trip in 2006, again advancing to the Div. 2 title game, this time falling to powerhouse Dayton Dunbar.

Wayne County Team Performance
Orrville - 4 Trips to State - 6 Wins - 3 Titles
Northwestern - 3 Trips to State - 4 Wins - 2 Titles
Triway - 4 Trips to State - 2 Wins
Dalton - 2 Trips to State - 0 Wins
Rittman - 1 Trip to State - 0 Wins

OCC Teams that have Won State
Orrville - 3 (1992, 1995, 1996)
Lexington - 2 (1989, 1991)
Clear Fork - 1 (2002)

I could do so much more with this (you know I could), but I'll stop.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thoughts and Prayers to the Ray Family

The Orrville coaching community has suffered another loss with the sudden passing of freshman boys basketball coach Jamie Ray at age 53. Coach Ray was involved in both the boys and girls basketball programs during his coaching tenure in Orrville.

It's tough to lose any member of a community, but especially tough when that person was involved in coaching and teaching our young people.

Thoughts and prayers from the entire Red Rider community go out to Coach Ray's family and friends.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

215 shots? 94 Three-Point Attempts? Gotta be the Berkey Classic.

First off....that's a lot of 3-point shots. Secondly, that's what All-Star games, especially the Berkey Classic have always been for. One last fun game for area seniors.

The "home" team, made up of seniors from Norwayne, Smithville, Rittman, Wooster, Dalton & Central Christian, defeated the "away" team, comprised of seniors from Orrville (Teven Mitchell and Syndel Gant), Hillsdale, Chippewa, Waynedale, Triway and Northwestern, 112-105.

The home team shot 16/50 (32%) form 3-pt. range, while the away team shot 14/44 (32%).

Smithville's Kenny Kornowski was named the MVP, scoring 20 points, grabbing rebounds, blocking shots, leaping tall buildings in a single bound.

Orrville's Teven Mitchell scored 16.

Representing OHS in the girls game were Libby Ladrach (13 points), Kelley Johnson (8 points, 3 assists) and Casey Bishop (8 points, 11 rebounds). Their team came out on the short end by a 97-60 score.

My favorite (and only) Berkey Classic memory....the 1996 game when 5 Orrville seniors (Reusser, Irby, Ray & Denson were 4, not sure of the 5th. Maybe McAllister or Nawyn?) started the game. Orrville brought a big crowd that night and loved the gesture. Can't say the same about the fans of the other county teams. But that group just finished off their 2nd straight state title, and deserved one more time together on the floor.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Basketball: NE Inland District & Div. 2 All-Ohio

Congratulations are in order for several Red Rider basketball players for being name to the NE Inland District team, as well as to the Div. 2 All-Ohio team.

AP Northeast Inland District - Division 2

First Team
Jacob Bolyard

Second Team
Zach Wasson
***2nd time Zach has made the NE Inland District Team, was Hon. Mention last season

Honorable Mention
Teven Mitchell

AP All-Ohio - Division 2

Special Mention
Jacob Bolyard

Honorable Mention
Zach Wasson

  • I believe Jake's All-Ohio selection makes him and his father Tom the first father/son duo to both be named All-Ohio in Orrville History.
  • Lexington's Courtney Avery was selected to the 2nd team. I still fail to see how his stats when compared to Jake's could justify landing him on the 2nd team, while Jake only gets Special Mention honors. Maybe someone at Lexington does a little more "politickin" than those within the Orrville program?
  • Zach Wasson making All-Ohio as a sophomore sets him up to possibly be a rare 3-time All-Ohioan. Not sure if any other Red Rider has achieved that feat....or if Zach will either, but he's got a good shot.

Monday, March 23, 2009

OHS Basketball: The 1992 State Title Ring

Here's part 1 of 4 of the visual history of Orrville's 4 state title rings in football and basketball.

Through my vast network of associates...I was able to get my hands on the state title ring (made by Jostens, of course) from Orrville's first ever state championship team.

The 1991-92 Red Riders captured the Division III State title with a 78-65 win over Hamler Patrick Henry at St. John Arena in Columbus. They defeated Sparta Highland (with 7' stiff Jason Terry) in the semifinals, 68-55. For the season, they finished 27-1 (only loss being to Wooster at the COW).

It was their 2nd trip to the state final four (first coming in 1980, which ended with a loss to Hamilton Ross, 67-57, in the semifinals) but this season was their first trip to the title game.

Players on the the top of my head.
1. Sly
2. Kevin
3. Coop
4. AD
5. Dee
6. Haley (Jim)
7. Rodgers
8. Vernon
9. Hardnett
10. Snyder
11. K. Robinson

I know I'm missing someone....someone jog my memory in the comments section.

A little thing, but definately something you just don't see anymore....this was one of the last teams to wear different jersey numbers depending on whether they were wearing their home whites or their road reds (remember when we wore red jerseys?).

For example...Sly wore #12 at home, but #13 on the road. Durden was 32/33, Summers was 44/45, Coop was 10/11, Dee was 42/43.

I'm guessing it had something to do with the home team wearing even numbers and the road team wearing odd numbers, possibly for scorebook purposes. I was a huge fan of this little uniform quirk (and the red jerseys...note to new coach: Bring back the Red Jerseys)

Anyways, here's the ring. Click on the picture for a larger version. Kind of bland, but still steeped in greatness.

2009-10 Boys Basketball Schedule

Interesting little find over at, seems the 2009-10 boys basketball schedule has been posted for anyone to view.

Prepare yourself for amazing-ness......

Prepared?? Ok, check it out HERE.

Some very interesting developments...lets review.

1. A game against Smithville at the WQKT/Steve Smith Holiday Classic. Finally, a worthy opponent at the Smitty. Mark your calendars....Saturday December 19th, 8:00pm.

2. Read #1 again.......let it sink in.

3. The typical Cleveland team to open the season is being replaced by the Whippets from Shelby High School.

4. Canton Timken is no longer on the schedule, taking their place is a home game with Wadsworth.

5. Final game of the season is a conference game at Wooster.

6. Northwestern (Away), Triway (Away), Akron East (in addition to Smithville, Wadsworth and Shelby) make up our non-conference schedule.

Take it for what it's worth, but this seems to be a sure thing. Orrville High School links to for schedule information.

I'm sure the Daily Record will pick up on it soon enough, as usually around late March or April, the full slate of games for the Smitty Classic is announced.

In my opinion, this game is a year late, but Smithville has 2 starters back from this years team, and with Derek Orr hopefully returning, Smithville will be anything but depleted....and will be more than ready to prove themselves.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fawcett Stadium Pressbox Renovation

Disclaimer: This post is not Orrville related (well, not totally Orrville related, but I'll work something in). Adjust your reading accordingly. If you're looking for my take on the recent resignation of our basketball coach, look elsewhere. I stated my opinion, a decision was made, the program has plenty of healing to do, we'll see where it goes. Let's move on.

In my recent drives to Canton, I've noticed some construction going on at Fawcett Stadium, home of Canton McKinley, Timken, Walsh and Malone Colleges, the OHSAA State Football Championships and many Orrville playoff victories (see, I knew I could relate it back to us).

What could easily be mistaken for a small skyscraper, is nothing more than a 3-story, $3.2 million dollar pressbox renovation. Ho-hum I guess.

Check it out....

The picture is a computer generated model of what the new pressbox will look like. Notice how the new pressbox will span 3 entire seating sections (52 yards worth of length). Now here's a picture of the old pressbox. From this vantage point, it appears that the old pressbox only took up about 2 seating sections (one in the middle and half of the 2 on either side).

Here's a completely awesome PDF of the detailed building plans. Looks like the media (radio & TV) will be housed on the first level, while coaches will be stationed on Level 2, and level 3 will be a covered hospitality area, with VIP seating.

I see no designated area for bloggers, though. I guess the struggle continues.

There seems to be some cush spots for network TV and TV production on the 2nd floor. I guess when the NFL is writing the check, they can do what they want. You didn't think that this was Canton City Schools money did you?

Lastly, check out the private suites for the administrators of teams participating in the OHSAA title games. Indoors, temperature controlled, possible food & drink options....where do I sign?

Your move Massillon. Time to up the ante. Let's get that DREAM project rolling again. Scandel-schmandel. We demand plush facilities.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Pats....and Good luck Smithies!!

The green like? Ok, it will take some getting used to....Ok, it's kind of hard on the eyes.....OK, it ain't staying any longer than it has to, but for a few days, the Red Rider Sports Blog will go green, for two reasons.

1. To celebrate St. Pat's Day....even though it's horribly overrated.

2. To support the Green Machine that is the Smithville Smithies boys basketball team as they look to take the next step towards a regional title and state final four berth.

We may......MAY have some Orrville news to discuss in the coming days, and we'll get to all that in due time.....but for now, we'll go green and support our neighbors to the Northwest.

Hope to see everyone at the Fieldhouse on Wednesday. I remember in Orrville's runs to state titles, we always had good support from county schools. This is our chance to return the favor. Saw plenty of Orrville support last Friday when Smithville and Triway locked up...including a few players, one that may or may not have his point totals tracked on this very site.

Hey look...even the comment button is green.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Blogaversary

Well, that was a fun year wasn't it? Time flies when you're having fun.

Let's review the first 365 days of a blog that has thrived across 2 of charge of course.

To summarize, in the first year of existence, the blog....

Monday, March 9, 2009

Boys Basketball: OCC Post-Season Honors

The Ohio Cardinal Conference released it's all-star teams & players of the year for it's winter sports. Let's take a look at the players receiving special honors, including player and coach of the well as the 2nd installment of the "Snub of the Year"

It was pretty much agreed upon that Orrville's Jacob Bolyard and Lexington's Courtney Avery were the 2 most deserving players to be named POY. Both were at the top of the league all season in scoring, and both lead their respective teams night in and night out. Both put up pretty similar numbers...or did they? Let's break it down.

For the sake of fairness, we'll look at regular season numbers only.

Season points
Jake - 388 - 19.3 avg.
Countney - 377 - 18.85 avg.
Advantage: Jake

2 pt. Field Goal Pct.
Jake - 36.8% on 265 attempts.
Courtney - 48% on 164 attempts.
Advantage: Courtney

3 pt. Field Goal Pct.
Jake - 32.6% on 86 attempts.
Courntney - 32.3% on 161 attempts.
Advantage: I'll call this a "push."

Free Throw Pct.
Jake - 77.1%
Courtney - 76.8%
Advantage: Technically Jake, but probably a "push"

Jake - 126 (6.3 per game)
Courtney - 46 (2.3 per game)
Advantage: Jake

Jake - 70 (3.3 per game)
Courtney - 29 (1.38 per game)
Advantage: Jake

Jake - 45 (2.3 per game)
Courtney - 32 (1.6 per game)
Advantage: Jake

Jersey Number
Jake - #12 (Terry Bradshaw, Steve Alford, Roger Staubach and even MJ...once)
Courtney - #22 (Larry Nance? Will Clark? Some guy named Kaka?)
Advantage: Jake

There you have it, so simple when you break things down scientifically......the numbers speak for themselves.

Let me be real clear. Courtney Avery is a very special athlete. He's now won the OCC Football and OCC Basketball POY in one school year AS A JUNIOR, a very rare feat, but given the above statistical proof, this should have been AT LEAST a shared award between Jake and Courtney, and a convincing arguement could be made that Jake deserved the award more than Courtney.

In my opinion, this is the 2nd Orrville athlete that's been snubbed, just this year. The first being Chase Hoobler having to share the Defensive POY during football season.

I'm trying my best to look at this without my Red Rider colored glasses, and I'm not going to call this some kind of conspiracy or that the OCC coaches are showing some sort of "anti-Orrville" bias, but I do think our geographic location in the conference hurts us. We're kind of on an island, and other than the coverage from the Wooster Daily Record, we don't really get much exposure, especially in the Mansfield area (understandably so, it's not in their coverage area).

I'd like to know how this was settled on. Do the league coaches vote on it? Does the Media? Does some sort of committee vote based on stats submitted by each team?

Here is the entire list of selections, and here are the Orrville players who earned recognition...

First Team
Jake Bolyard - Jr. - 19.4 ppg/6.3 rpg/3.3 spg/2.3 apg
Zach Wasson - Soph. - 14.9 ppg/7.9 rpg

Second Team
Teven Mitchell - Sr. - 9.3 ppg/3.1 rpg/2 apg

Honorable Mention
Joey Besancon - Jr. - 6.9ppg/1.5 apg/1 rpg
Syndell Gant - Sr. - 3.1ppg/4.8 rpg/2.3 apg/1.5 spg

Coach of the Year
Doug Rickert/Mansfield Madison

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Great Weekend for Orrville Wrestling

The Rider grapplers had another solid showing at the state meet, placing 3 wrestling on the podium, including Dennis Raber, who finished 2nd at 171. The team of Jake Strasbaugh, Jeremy Maiwurm and Raber finished 7th in the team standings with 38 points, easily their best showing in over a decade.

Here's how the Riders have fared at state since 1999.

2009 - 7th (38 pts)
2008 - 18th (30 pts)
2007 - 55th (6 pts)
2006 - did not place
2005 - 41st (10.5 pts)
2004 - did not place
2003 - did not place
2002 - 28th (18 pts)
2001 - 70th (2 pts)
2000 - 35th (16 pts)
1999 - 63rd (5 pts)

Here's each of the brackets that Orrville's 3 competed in...
D2 - 130(Jake)
D2 - 135 (Jeremy)
D2 - 171 (Dennis)

I don't know that the Riders have ever had 3 wrestlers place in the top 8. We've alway had 1 or 2 wrestlers have individual success, but I can't recall 3 placing in one tournament.

Here's a link to every weight class. Notice all of the success by St Paris Graham in Div. 2? They just secured their 9th straight team title and did it in typical dominating fashion, netting 282 team points, better their previous team high by 60 points and grabbing 7 individual titles in the 13 weight classes they competed in. Just ridiculous.

Lastly, here's Dennis Raber's championship match. I'm sure he won't want to watch this for a while, but in time, I'm sure he will realize what an accomplishment this was. For the record, Zach Garbrandt (Raber's opponent) finished 8th at last years state tournament at 160.

DII 171: Zach Garbrandt (Claymont) vs. Dennis Raber (Orrville)

Congrats Dennis, Jake and Jeremy. And congrats to Coach Budd and Coach Vance and all the coaches in the lower levels.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

OHS Basketball Wrap-Up

Basketball season is officially over at OHS, as both boys and girls teams lost in tournament play.

The boys lost the sectional semifinal to 2nd seed Minerva, 62-57 and the girls lost in the district semifinal to Manchester.

The girls finished 17-5, while the boys finished 13-8...let's look at a few things a little deeper.

The boys team lost their first tournament game for the 2nd time in 3 years, and lost in the sectional round for the 5th time in the 7 year tenure of Coach Short.

Our tournament record under Coach Short slipped to 7 win and 7 losses, and Orrville's streak without a district title is now 13 years.

My Thoughts
Might as well put it out there, I think the program needs a change of leadership. Our style of play does not lend itself well to success in the tournaments, and I feel our teams are not reaching their potential. We seem to make the same mistakes in game 1 was as we do in the final game of the season, and our play from game to game is inconsistent at best. Our offensive approach leaves so much to be desired, we would be such a dangerous team if we could run a half court set as good as we press (not the lazy press, the press we saw in the 3rd quarter against Minerva).

We may never have talent like we had in our state title teams of the 90's, but that doesn't mean the cupboard is bare. This was our 5th year of 7 losses or more in a season, and we're still seeking our first piece of an OCC title 6 years into being a part of the league.

Final Wasson Watch
Zach Wasson only scored 3 points in the loss to Minerva, putting his 2 year point total at 591 (13.7 ppg over 43 games). At his current pace, he would end up 6th on Orrville's all-time scoring list, finishing between Orville greats Tom Bolyard (1277) and Bob Knight (1104). If his pace of rebounding continues, he should end up around 3rd in all-time rebounds, behind Marcell Denson (782) and Anthony Durden (649).

If Zach can add some bulk to his frame and develop a face up style of play, he could easily average 20 ppg over his final 2 seasons.

Jake the Snake
Player of the Year should be an easy call this year...Jacob Bolyard, hands down. Not only did he lead the team (and the OCC) in scoring and steals, but also finished in the top 10 in rebounds and assists. Hopefully an OCC player of the year and All-Ohio nod await the junior as well, he's definately earned it.

For the season, Jake finished with 413 points, good for an average of 19.7 ppg. He finished 7 points shy of averaging 20 ppg for the year, which would have put him in rare company. He would have been only the 10th Rider to finish with a 20 ppg average over an entire season. Here's what that list currently looks like.

1. Kevin Summers - 28.0 ppg - (1990-91 Season)
2. Chris Royer - 25.6 ppg - (1989-90 Season)
3. Bobby Knight - 24.3 ppg - (1956-57 Season)
4. Don Boop - 24.2 ppg - (1972-73 Season)
5. Ron Wachtel - 23.6 ppg - (1979-80 Season)
6. Kevin Summers - 23.3 ppg - (1991-92 Season)
7. Ron Snyder - 23.2 ppg - (1965-66 Season)
8. Tom Bolyard - 22.9 ppg - (1984-85 Season)
9. Tom Bolyard - 21.9 ppg - (1983-84 Season)
10. Ralph Winters - 21.3 ppg - (1981-82 Season)
11. Ralph Winters - 20.7 ppg - (1980-81 Season)
12. Brian McDaniel - 20.6 ppg - (1997-98 Season)
13. Bobby Knight - 20.6 ppg - (1957-58 Season)

With a strong senior season, Jake just may find himself on this list, and another, even more rare list....the first Rider Father/Son duo to each score 1000 pts. in a career. I'll need to do some research on his exact point total, but I'm estimating he has right around 550-575 points.

I guess that's it....this year was the most anti-climactic year I can remember, it's becoming a very dependable (almost mathematic) formula....equal talent + away from OHS gym = an Orrville loss, and anymore, it doesn't seem to matter where the game is played as 3 of our 7 on-court losses were at Orrville. Our home court advantage is almost non-existant, and nowhere near what it once was.

Unfortunately, the season was also filled with the most fan apathy that I can ever remember, and I've been attending Orrville games for 20+ years. Fans are losing interest, and I'm afraid I don't see that changing.

If you have comments, I'd love to hear them, agree or disagree.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hoops: Season End & Tourney Preview

Well...another regular season is done. The 08-09 season has followed a similar script as the last several. Another season without a league title and seemingly more questions about this team than answers. Let's look at it...TOGETHER.

Final record was 13-7 (14-6 on the court, but the opener with John Marshall was forfeitted due to the use of an ineligible player) and 10-4 in the OCC, our 5th straight year with 10 league wins, but also our 6th straight year (out of 6 years in the league) without a league title.

Losses were to Mansfield Senior, @ Akron East, Mans. Madison (twice), Canton Timken and @ Lexington, and of course the forfeit.

The good news, all losses were to very solid teams. In my estimation, we played 10 games against teams I'd consider "above average," we lost 6 and won 4. The 4 wins coming against Triway, Northwestern, Senior and Lexington. I'd call the win over Senior the biggest win of the season (so far). Two of those four wins needed last second shots by Teven Mitchell.

Leading scorer was Jake Bolyard with 388 points (19.4 ppg) followed by Zach Wasson with 299 points (14.95 ppg). Wasson's 2 year point total stands at 588 or exacly 14 ppg over his first 42 games as a Red Rider.

Wasson was also the teams leading recounder, averaging nearly 8 rpg.

Canton District
Another talented district awaits the Riders, led by St Vincent-St Mary who have put together some impressive wins against D1 competition.

The #2 seed and first round Orrville opponent is 19-1 Minerva. You don't win 19 games by being overrated, but Minerva does have what I'd call somewhat of a weak schedule. I'm never "excited" to play a 19-1 team, especially with a team with a sound fundamental base as Minerva, but I think we'll hold our own against them....and just maybe pull the upset.

History, however, is not on our side. We have not won a sectional title since the 2004-05 season and are just 7-6 in the past 6 Canton Tournaments.

Here's the bracket and here's how I see the games shaking out.

Top Half of Bracket

Sectional Semifinals
NW over Fairless
Springfield over Norton
Buchtel over Coventry

Sectional Finals
St V over NW
Buchtel over Springfield

District Semifinal
St V over Buchtel

Bottom Half of Bracket

Sectional Semifinals
Orrville over Minerva
Alliance over Hoban
Canton South over Marlington

Sectional Finals
Orrville over Louisville
Alliance over Canton South

District Semifinals
Alliance over Orrville

District Final
St. V over Alliance

Minerva Preview
The Lions strike me as a terribly balanced team, led by 6'3" junior Brian Harp who averages nearly 20 ppg and 10 rpg per game. Ryker Locke (6'1" and a Junior, coaches son) leads a sold group of guards, averaging over 12 pgg and shooting 45% from 3-pt range. Josh Fick (6'1" and a Senior) is the 3rd Lion to averages double figures, chipping 10.7 ppg. Troy Summers (6'2" and a Senior, QB and team MVP for the football team) checks in with around 8 ppg.

The trio of Harp, Locke and Fick all average better than 70% from the FT line.

This is the 2nd year in a row the Riders and Lions meet in the sectional semifinals, last year Orrville won by a 72-56 score. Here's the article from that game. A lot of familiar Minerva names in that article. Their experience shows in the fact that they were 7-14 last year and are 19-1 this year.

Keys to the game....
  • Orrville must not let "the other guys" beat them. I'm sure plenty of attention will be paid to Locke and Harp, but Minerva has plenty of balance and any one of 4 guys not named Brian Harp can score 10-15 points each in any given game. We should have the size and talent to defend the Lions straight up.
  • It is imperative that Orrville hold any lead they get. The Riders have made a disturbing habit of giving away double digit leads this season.
  • The Riders must dictate tempo. An up and down, fast paced game will favor the Riders, while a ball control, possession style game will favor the Lions.
  • Orrville must limit "silly" fouls, and keep their big men out of trouble.
  • In my opinion, for Orrville to win, the trio of Gant, Pirman and Hoobler must score 12-15 points combined.
  • Orrville must look inside first, in the article from last years game, it said we shot 17 three's in the first half, and were tied with Minerva at the break. Only when they went inside first did they pull away. A similar strategy must be employed this time as well.
  • The Riders must control the 4th quarter....if the game comes down to possessions and free throws, our chances are not good.
Final prediction.......Orrville 65-61.

All-Time Records

101 (through 2010)

Wins: 588
Losses: 351
Ties: 41

Win Pct: 60%

Undefeated Regular Seasons: 14 (1924, 39, 40, 47, 63, 68, 69, 76, 77, 80, 84, 87, 88, 95)

State Titles: 1 (1998)
State Final Appearances: 4 (1983, 1985, 1994, 1998)
Regional Titles: 9 (1980, 83, 84, 85, 94, 95, 98, 99, 2010)
Playoff Appearances: 21 (1980, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 92, 94, 95, 97, 98, 99, 2003, 04, 05, 06, 09, 10)

Conference Affiliations: Chippewa Conference (1963-75), All-Ohio Conference (1976-82), All-Ohio League (1983-88), Ohio Heartland Conference (1999-2002), Ohio Cardinal Conference (2003-present)

Conference Titles:
Chippewa Conference - 6 (1963, 64, 65, 68, 69, 70)
All-Ohio Conference - 5 (1976, 77, 78, 80, 81)
All-Ohio League - 5 (1984, 85, 86, 87, 88)
Ohio Heartland Conference - 1 (1999)
Ohio Cardinal Conference - 1 (2005)

Here's a breakdown of every Orrville opponent and our record against each.

Season Records (courtesy of Orrville Athletic Department):

Rushing Yards - Dru Robinson: 2096 (1998)
**Note: Robinson's record was achieved in 13 games (14 games in the season, but he only played in 13), an average of 161 yards per game. Mark Griggs ran for 1605 in 10 games in 1977, an average of 160.5 yards per game.

Passing Yards - Kyle Simmons: 3174 (2006)
**Note: Simmons' record was achieved in 13 games, an average of 244 ypg. Tim Hiller threw for 3029 yards in 11 games in 2004, an average of 275 ypg.

Receiving Yards - Brad Thomas: 1102 (2006)
**Note: Thomas' record was achieve in 13 games, an average of 84.7 ypg. Tom Brenner had 1081 receiving yards in 2004 in 11 games, an average of 98.2 ypg.

Career Records (courtesy of Orrville Athletic Department):
Rushing: Mark Griggs - 3551
Passing: Tim Hiller - 7222
Receiving: Tom Brenner - 2073


Wins: 1062
Losses: 782

Win Pct: 57.5%

State Titles: 3 (1991-92, 1994-95, 1995-96)
Final Four Appearances: 5 (1979-80, 1991-92, 1994-95, 1995-96, 2009-10)
Regional Apparances: 10 (1979-80, 1980-81, 1984-85, 1985-86, 1988-89, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1994-95, 1995-96, 2009-10)

Undefeated Regular Seasons: 1 (1988-89 Season, finished 22-1)
Most Wins in a Season: 27 (1991-92 Season, finished 27-1)
Least Wins in a Season: 0 (1940-41 Season, finished 0-16)
Most Losses in a Season: 20 (1951-52 Season, finished 1-20)
Least Losses in a Season: 1 (1988-89, 1991-92, 1995-96)

Career Records (courtesy of Orrville Athletic Department)
Points - Marcell Denson - 1722
Rebounds - Marcell Denson - 782
Assists - Sly Slaughter - 364

Season Records (courtesy of Orrville Athletic Department)
Points - Kevin Summers (1990-91): 673 points
Rebounds - Anthony Durden (1991-92): 254 rebounds
Assists - Sly Slaughter (1991-92): 137 assists

Single Game Records
Most Points: 51 (Kevin Summers, 2/9/91 vs Copley)
Most Rebounds: 22 (Kevin Summers, 2/9/91 vs Copley)
Most Asissts: 14 (Sly Slaughter, 1990-91 season vs Manchester)

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