FRANKLIN FURNACE – It’s been twelve days since the Green Bobcats (14-8) played their last game, a 64-57 road win over Symmes Valley in Willow Wood. Needless to say, the Bobcats are more than ready to get back out on the court with a sectional final matchup against Whiteoak looming Wednesday evening.
“Right now, we’re just ready to play basketball,” said Green head coach Dirk Hollar. “We’ve been off for over a week and a half and I think the boys just want to play. We ended the season kind of up and down. After Christmas, we went 9-3 only losing to top three teams in our league. When we lost to Western, we shot it really bad. Held on against Notre Dame, but once again didn’t shoot it very well. We ended the season with a win on the road at Symmes Valley which isn’t an easy task. I think for me as their coach, I just want to play ball. The regular season is over and it’s time to focus one game at a time and we’ve had a long time to prepare for Whiteoak. We know them inside and out, it’s up to the boys to execute.”
Whiteoak enters Wednesday’s sectional final against the Bobcats following a 48-33 sectional semifinal win over Notre Dame a week ago. Interestingly enough, during their regular season run and their one postseason win, the Wildcats are 3-0 against SOC I teams: two wins over Notre Dame which includes last week’s win, and a road win over New Boston on December 15th.
“The win against New Boston was early in the season,” said Hollar, “But we did talked about how Whiteoak is capable of beating anyone, they’re better than a seven seed. They’re long and big, so we’ll need to be able to use our quickness to get out in transition. When we don’t get run outs, we’ve stressed being patient and taking care of the basketball. They run a lot of zone presses and half court zone. The fact that they went 3-0 against our conference doesn’t bother my kids, we have a job to do, and if we execute, we feel like we will be heading to the Convo.”
Back to the Convo. That’s not something you hear every day when discussing Bobcats hoops in modern history. In fact, last year’s sectional title was the school’s first in 19 years since 1999. To utter the phrase, “Back to the Convo” signifies just how far things have come concerning Bobcat basketball. Well, all of Green athletics for that matter.
“That experience for the kids and myself will benefit us,” said Hollar on last year’s district final appearance run. “We’ve been in this situation before where one win gets us to the Convo. They want that experience again, it was special last year. I only lost one senior last year, Rylee Maynard, and my sixth man this year, Ethan Huffman, is playing great in Rylee’s spot. The kids know we have to defend and do the little things if we want to go back to the Convo. We are playing the toughest team out of our sectional, so we have a chip on our shoulder, and we want to come out playing physical and defend.”
Green tips off with Whiteoak at 6:00 p.m. at Northwest High School with a sectional title on the line. Following the conclusion of the Bobcats and the Wildcats contest, Clay will face Peebles in another Division IV sectional final.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT