But life goes on, and so does Red Rider sports. Basketball is at it's halfway point and there's plenty to talk about, so let's get back at it.
We'll start with the good news. The Lady Riders are sitting pretty with a 11-2 record, 7-2 in the OCC. They came from behind to defeat Fort Loramie, 59-52, in the Berlin Classic in the Country. They trailed at the end of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarters, but led at the end when it counted the most.
They hammered Mansfield Senior last weekend, 64-25. The Tygers were without standout Rachael Mahan, but I don't know if it would have mattered.
They've won their last 7 in a row, and are in position to make a run at the all-time consecutive wins record of 13, not to mention a top seed in the upcoming Triway district, where it looks like Manchester is the team to beat right now. I like the makeup of this team, they play tough and don't give in.
Now the not-so-good. Like most Rider basketball fans, I'm kind of at a loss for the struggles this team has had this year, but I like to think that it's a combination of a few things.
Most notably is the lack of outside shooting. There's no magic pill when it comes to shooting, you either have it, or you don't. I think there are guys on this team who CAN shoot the ball, it's just not happening. The lack of a pure shooter on this team is evident, and sorely missed.
They're 4-7 and 3-5 in the OCC, so a conference title is out of the question, and honestly, I think 10-10 is a realistic target to shoot for in terms of a regular season record.
I'm confident that Coach Slaughter and his staff are doing the best they can in trying to figure out what combination of kids works the best together. We seem to have quick guards in TJ Mitchell, Jordan Ray and Stewart Turner....and size in Zach Wasson, Max Pirman, Devon Winters and even Drew Brenner.
I really thought this team was hitting a groove after pasting Lexington, but that didn't seem to carry over in a loss to Wooster where the Riders trailed by 20+ in the 4th quarter.
Maybe using our press to create turnovers and using our size to create high percentage shots and second-chance opportunities is the way to go, but I don't think I'm thinking of anything that hasn't already been tried.
I think this team is dangerous come tournament time, but we're going to see teams like Hillsdale (who has already handled us rather easily) and Northwestern (sharpshooter Brennan McKean is this years' Jake Bolyard in terms of a gamechanger) and teams like Triway & Smithville who are coming along nicely. It wont be easy.
Mark your calendars accordingly. The girls tourney draw will be held February 6th, and the boys will be held February 13th. I'll post brackets here as soon as I get them.
Zach is averaging 19 points per game on the season. Pretty amazing considering he's been the focus of a lot of double teams for the entire season. His career points stand at 1,257 (by my numbers) which puts him 6th all time. He's currently sandwiched between #5 Tom Bolyard (1,277) and #7 Jacob Bolyard (1,157). Barring injury, he should land as the #3 all-time scorer in Orrville history, behind Marcell Denson and Kevin Summers.
Sophomore Hannah Plybon is averaging just under 22 points per game through the first 13 games on the season and is nearing 700 points for her career (676 is her current total I'm told). If she's not the unanimous OCC Player of the Year, then I'll call for the investigation.
She'll probably crack the top 10 in all-time points scored after JUST TWO SEASONS. Again, barring injury, her numbers should easily put her at the top of the scoring list in Lady Rider history.
Her scoring average this season would be a record if she maintains it, 20.5 points per game is the current record set by Rhonda Winters back in the 1982-83 season.
If you haven't looked at the Girls Basketball Records page, please check it out now.
Congrats to Doug Steiner
Congratulations to OHS grad Doug Steiner on being inducted into the Grove City College Sports Hall of Fame. He graduated as the all-time leading rushing in school history and still holds the #2 spot on the list. He was the school's first 1,000-yard rushing, and did it in only 9 games.
Here's the detail from the school's website.
Found on YouTubeDoug Steiner '98
Hard-charging fullback Doug Steiner did not letter his freshman year, yet graduated as Grove City College’s all-time rushing leader, won Presidents' Athletic Conference and team Most Valuable Player awards and received All-America honors following the 1997 season.As a junior, the Orrville, Ohio, native became the College’s first 1,000-yard rusher when he amassed 1,073 yards in just nine games. Steiner highlighted his record-breaking season by running for a school record 257 yards in the Homecoming win over Thiel, earning him the first of two Jim Cross Memorial Trophy honors.As senior co-captain, the 5-foot-9, 190-pounder helped lead Grove City to a school-record nine victories, the program’s first-ever PAC title and a berth in the ECAC Southwest Bowl. Steiner ran for 1,490 yards and tied the NCAA Division III single-season record with 29 rushing touchdowns.Five of those touchdowns came in a 42-30 Homecoming victory over Waynesburg. He also played a major role in Grove City’s 31-28 come-from-behind upset of W&J at Thorn Field, scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown.Number 36 closed his career with 200-yard rushing efforts in wins at Alfred and Denison.The league’s head football coaches selected Steiner as the PAC’s MVP in 1997. He earned All-America honors from Don Hansen’s Football Gazette and Hewlett-Packard. Steiner graduated as Grove City’s all-time leader with 2,726 rushing yards.He earned the College's Sportsman of the Year award for 1997-98 and also received a Christian Servant Award. Steiner graduated in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in business management.
One of my first YouTube videos I posted on this site (way back in 2008) was of Max Pirman throwing down a dunk against Clear Fork. Here it is. Only fitting that another Max dunking video has surfaced.
Pretty strong effort.
In the spirit of equal time, here's two from Zach Wasson. First one was from two years ago at Mansfield Senior and the second one was from this year against Madison.
Got some more YouTube videos coming soon. Stay tuned.
A quick update on several Red Rider alums playing college basketball, and doing it well.
Brandon Short (Mt. Vernon Naz) - Now a senior, Brandon is leading the Cougars (13-8) in scoring (15.0 ppg), steals and rebounds. He also recently scored his 1,000th career point. Wonder how many Orrville grads have scored 1,000 points in college. I'll bet that list is real small.
Jake Bolyard (Univ. of Northwestern Ohio) - Jake and his Racers (9-13) have won four of their last five games. Jake has been the leading scorer in 18 of the 22 games on the season and is averaging 21.4 points per game on the year. He leads the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) in scoring and is 14th in the entire nation (of NAIA Div. 2 Schools).
Pretty good for a true freshman. I could see Jake transferring to a school like Ashland or even the College of Wooster, but that's just me talking.
Casey Bishop (Heidelberg) - Casey is averaging 3.2 points per game and is the 3rd leading rebounder for the Student Princes. Former Orrville head coach Marcie Alberts is the Heidelberg coach (her brother Mason is also a volunteer assistant).
Libby Ladrach (Capital) - She's the team's leading rebounder (5.5 per game) and averages 4.9 points per game. She's averaging nearly 20 minutes per game for the Crusaders (11-6) and is one of the leading shooters (percentage-wise) on the team.
That's all for now, I've got some other good things in the hopper, so keep checking back.