The Valley Indians finished a very successful basketball season Saturday evening in Athens, Ohio. The Indians season came to an end after a hard fought game with the Chesapeake Panthers. The two teams were playing for an OHSAA Division III Southeast District Championship, but the Indians would be unable to walk out with a win Saturday, bringing their season to its conclusion.
Despite the season ending before they wanted it to end, the Indians had a great year, filled with accomplishments.
The Indians finished with a 20-4 record on the year, a noteworthy accomplishment for any basketball team in the state. They also took home a share of the SOC II title, and won a sectional title, after they defeated the Southeastern Panthers 64-50.
From there, the Indians went on to play in the district semi-finals at the Convocation Center on the campus of Ohio University in Athens.
In the semi-finals, Valley would go on to defeat the Albany Alexander Spartans to advance to the district final round.
It would be in the district final round the Indians would meet the Chesapeake Panthers, and see their season come to an end.
The number one seeded Indians had previously met the number two seeded Panthers on January 16th, at the North Adams Classic. In that game, the Indians would nearly defeat the Panthers, but ultimately finished a few points shy of gaining the victory, losing 60-57.
Valley coach Scott Rolfe knew his team could compete with the Panthers, and believed they had the talent to get a win over Chesapeake.
“Defensively they caused more issues than we thought when we played them the first time,” Rolfe said. “We thought we had some adjustments, but they stymied us.”
Although the Indians weren’t able to win a district title, Rolfe was proud of his team’s play throughout the season, and was glad his team had the opportunity to play for a district title, something no other Division III team in the county had a chance to do.
“It was great,” Rolfe said. “It’s well deserved with this group. They’ve worked their hind ends off to get where they were and to have a 20-win season, you know, and to have a league title with them and a sectional title.”
Rolfe will have to say goodbye to seven seniors from his team this year. The seven seniors and coach Rolfe have a long history together. He has been their coach since they were in the second grade, playing pee-wee basketball.
“We worked our way up, and it’s just a difficult time when you have to say goodbye to seven seniors,” Rolfe said. “Kudos to this group. It’s hard to say goodbye.”
One of the best parts of being the coach of the Indians, and with the group of departing seniors was watching them grow up and become well-behaved young men, according to Rolfe. He has coached them to become better players, and instructed them on how to become better individuals, and that is what Rolfe believes is the most important job of a coach.
“That’s why you get into coaching, it’s not all about wins and losses,” Rolfe said. “It’s trying to mold people and build them into great character.”
Valley’s Bryce Romanello (1) goes up for a layup against the Chesapeake Panthers Saturday evening in the OHSAA Division III Southeast District Championship game held at the Convocation Center on the campus of Ohio University in Athens.
Senior Bryan Rolfe (11) of Valley sets up the Indians’ offense during the OHSAA Division III Southeast District Championship game against the Chesapeake Panthers.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.