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Monday, June 15, 2009

Basketball: A Drop to Division 3...Good & Bad.

Well, it was made official last week, Orrville will officially be a Division III basketball school for at least the next 2 school years. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you already knew that though, didn't you?

It appears though, that even the addition of the Red Riders, the Wooster District tournament will remain at 11 teams. Rittman was a member of the district, but lost nearly 20% of the male students from the last count, and will now be Division IV for basketball.

Here are the 11 teams and each schools count of boys. The counts were of boys in grades 9, 10 and 11 and was conducted in October 2008.

1. Triway - 220
2. Tuslaw - 216
3. Orrville - 211
4. Manchester - 202
5. Norwayne - 179
6. Chippewa - 177
7. Loudonville - 175
8. Northwestern - 173
9. Waynedale - 164
10. Hillsdale - 149
11. Smithville - 138

The range to be classified Division 3, was set from 129 to 223.

Looking back on Orrville's time in Division II, other than our first year in the Canton district (1996), there wasn't a lot of success. A few district final appearances, but some real tough losses in those games and (IMO) too many "one and done's."

We were always one of the smallest D2 teams, but felt we we on par with most teams in terms of talent. The addition of local powers Hoban, St V. and Akron Buchtel in the ast few years made it an even tougher challenge, but we never faced any of those 3 teams in the past 2 years. We had just as much trouble with NBC teams.

I think the initial reaction is that this is a positive for the program, and I wouldn't disagree with that. This will foster a rekindling of local rivalries with teams like Triway & Northwester, and fire up the old "Orrville vs. the WCAL" arguement, which is always good for newspaper sales and sells tickets. In Canton, we became an afterthough, an "also ran," and it showed in the support of both the community and the student body. Now we're one of the (perceived) big dogs again, but the pressure to win will be great...and immediate. Orrville's game against Smithville at the 2009 Smitty Classic may just be a preview of the district title game.

The con is two-fold. One is we're shrinking in terms of student population. This shouldn't be something that's welcomed with applause. This is less money to the district and a potential increased burden on the taxpayer (you & me). I don't think it's a coincidence that we, as a community, experienced our greatest run of athletic success when factories were booming and plentiful. The 80's and 90's were a booming period of industrial growth and production in Orrville, and by and large, reflected in the success of our athletic teams. I'm sure it could all be tied together (or has been already)....but I ain't the guy. I prefer unfounded generalizations. ;)

The other is the perception that will no doubt be uttered in the Wooster gym during tournament time. The perception that somehow we got the state to put us back in D3 because we couldn't cut it over in Canton. Obviously, we had our struggles over there (12 wins, 13 losses in the past 13 yrs at the Canton District), but I'd rather be a growing district and stay in Canton, than to be shrinking and having to drop a division, even if the result is a district championship.

Should we be lucky enough to see our first regional appearance since 1996, we'll most likely have to contend with the defending D3 champion, the Ironmen of Cleveland Central Catholic.....but let's get there first.

The numbers are what they are. Let's play some hoops. If only we had a gym big enough to accomodate the fans. Hmmmm. Is it too late to change the blueprints of the Multi-Purpose Facility?

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