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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Good Luck Riders! - Final Four Edition

Not much to say that will change much, but I'll try...I can only offer my sincere "thank you" on behalf of Rider Nation for the ride the girls team has taken us on so far and an even more sincere "good luck" to the Orrville girls basketball team as they prepare to take on the Anna Rockets tomorrow at Value City Arena in Columbus in the state Division 3 Final Four.

They're 2 wins away from finishing the "Unfinished Business" of bringing a state title back to Orrville..and if there's any group that has put in the work, that has played as one, and done it the right way, it's this team. There's 4 teams saying the very same thing right now, so nothing will be given to us, it will have to be earned, any state title should be that way.

I'm not good with inspirational speeches...but here's a few that I think do the trick. (email subscribers wont be able to see the video and will need to click on each link)

First...from the hockey movie "Miracle."

I love the quote at the beginning..."great moments are born of great opportunity." The Riders have earned the opportunity to play on Ohio's biggest stage, and will get an opportunity to make great moments on that stage.

Next of my favorites...the "Perfect" speech from 'Friday Night Lights.'

I love this clip, because it's not about winning & losing, it's about being there for your teammate, and giving your all, and knowing that you did all you could.  The line at the end always gets me..."put each other in your hearts forever, because forever is about to happen."

Some, and maybe every girl on this team, may never experience a moment like this ever again in their time as an athlete.  It will be something that binds this group together forever.  The next time we send a team to state, we'll remember this team.  I don't pretend to know a lot about this team, but I do know chemistry when I see it, and this team gets along, they play for each other and this town...and that's something we can all get behind.

Last but not least...some 'Hoosiers' love.

Short and to the point....again..not about winning & losing, but putting your best effort forth. And the slow clap at the end...who doesn't love a slow clap?

That's all I proud of this team & how well they have represented their school and town....just hope they can get a shot to play for the gold trophy on Saturday.  I know this because I've heard it said...this team is not just happy to be there.  They want the whole thing...and I think they can do it.

This has been such a special season, so many moments, so many records broken, it would be fitting to be back in Bob Knight Gymnasium one more time on Sunday for one last state title celebration.

Let's Go Riders!! Leave it all on the floor one more time (and then again on Saturday).

Beat the Rockets!!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Orrville Girls Win Regionals. FINAL FOUR BOUND!!

For the first time since 1993, the Orrville girls basketball team has captured a regional championship and will head to Columbus looking to win the program's first state championship.

In convincing fashion, the Riders steamrolled Beachwood 75-48 to punch their ticket to the Division  3 Final Four where they will face the Anna Rockets, who defeated Middletown Madison 61-42 today.

The Riders started hot today against the Bison, scoring the first 9 points of the game and never looked back in leaving little doubt as to who was the better team on this day.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Orrville Girls Capture District Title!

The team & coaching staff pose with their new hardware. Thanks to Mike Guster for the picture.

These are the best kinds of posts...victorious Red Riders, all smiles...and CHAMPIONS!!

Win over CCC
The Orrville girls basketball team captured the district title with a hard fought win over Canton Central Catholic, 58-51 at Triway High School.  The win earned them a spot in the Cuyahoga Falls regional where they will face the winner of the Mineral Ridge district, the Hanoverton United Local Eagles.

The Riders led most of the way against Canton CC, including a 27-18 halftime lead.  The Crusaders closed the gap and actually took a 33-32 lead in the 3rd quarter, but the Riders went on a 10-0 run to stretch the lead back to 9 in the 4th quarter.  Right there told me something about the heart and desire of this team.  They've been battle tested.  Several key members of this team were also members of the Final 4 volleyball last fall, so pressure is nothing new to this group, and they play that way.

The Riders made their free throws down the stretch and forced some Crusader turnovers in the final minutes to hold on & capture their 2nd district crown in the past three years.

More Broken Records
Along with the win came plenty of history as it was Orrville coach Mark Alberts' 100th win as Rider coach.  It was his 543rd win in his coaching career, spanning 33 seasons as a coach of boys programs (Danville, Fredericktown and of course Wooster) and 5 seasons here at Orrville.

The win was the Riders 24th of the season, which is also a new school record, breaking the old mark set in the 1983-84 season.

As a program, girls basketball now has 597 all-time wins (597-310 since 1966-67, 47 years).  Three more wins to be one of roughly 25 programs in the state with 600+ wins according to the OHSAA.

Plybon tops 2,000
Last but not least, today will also be remembered as the day that Orrville senior Hannah Plybon crossed the 2,000 career point mark.  With an "and-1" in the first quarter, she became the first Wayne Co. basketball player (boy or girl) to hit 2,000 career points..and only the 3rd all-time in the Wayne/Holmes county area.

She entered the game today with 1,991 points and tallied 28 on the day, giving her a career total of 2,019 career points...putting her in the top 50 all-time in Ohio girls history.  With 23 more points, she'll pass Christa Wells of West Holmes (1987-91) for 2nd in area history.  She wont catch West Holmes Lisa Cline (2,958 points and 3rd all-time in Ohio history) but that's pretty rare company to be in.

On the season Hannah has now scored 639 points which is just 34 points behind Kevin Summers school record 671 points (1990-91).  700 career points is not out of the question for Hannah....but it's all just numbers at this point.  I'm sure she and the Red Riders would trade every individual statistic in exchange for 4 more wins and the program's first state championship.

Regional Matchup
Orrville and United Local will face off this coming Wednesday at 8:15pm, following the first semi-final between Mogadore (who defeated #1 seed Elyria Catholic) and Beachwood (who defeated #1 seed Gilmour Academy).  All games will be played at Cuyahoga Falls High School.

United Local will be making their 2nd straight appearance in regionals...last season they lost to Smithville in the regional semifinal.

I fully expected Gilmour Academy to be one of the teams in this regional...their absence really opens things up.  At this point, it's anyone's region to win.  Going to depend on matchups and what team can put together 2 more quality outings to punch their ticket to Columbus.  Here's the Sweet 16 bracket view.  Keep an eye on that Lexington bracket and the team from Columbus Africentric. Likely they make another appearance in the final 4.

Both the Red Riders and Eagles will be sporting big win streaks coming into the game.  The Eagles have won 17 in a row (24-2 overall), while the Red Riders have tied a school record with 13 straight wins (also 24-2 overall).

Great day to be a Red Rider!!!  Proud of the crowd that turned out and was noisy from tip to when we cut the nets down.  Make sure to buy your tickets at the school this week, as prices for the regional round jump to $8 for adults. Presale prices will be $6.