always a rollercoaster ride for coaches
By Zachary Dzurick
Published Jan. 26, 2005
Doug Raiff battles North Olmsted’s Chris Hibinger. (Photo by
The ebb and
flow of the season can test the patience of any coach. Two weeks
ago, North Olmsted had an emotional win over Olmsted Falls. The
team was playing crisp, motivated basketball. Shots were falling
and coach Tim Schmotzer seemed to be pushing all of the right buttons.
A week ago, Rocky River coach Tom Thompson was so frustrated with
his team's performance against Olmsted Falls that he couldn't talk
about the game in the locker room. The Pirates were a turnover machine
and getting out hustled.
So of course,
this week Rocky River blitzed North Olmsted 68-49.
Olmsted Falls game, I went into the locker room and said nothing,"
Thompson said. "I just told them when practice was Sunday. I think
it was just a tone we brought into practice on Sunday and Monday
where the kids refocused. We told them there were some things we
needed to do better and we knew we could play better. They were
disappointed and it was really nothing more special than getting
"We have been
a solid rebounding team," Schmotzer said. "It is what we hang our
hats on, and that is why Tuesday was so disappointing. They out
rebounded us by 14."
had games Friday night against the teams at the bottom of the conference
standings. However, there are no nights off in the SWC. Rocky River
found themselves up only by two at the half. North Olmsted saw an
eight-point second quarter lead at home evaporate into a 27-27 halftime
tie with Westlake.
Both made the
adjustments necessary at the half to make victory possible. Third
quarter defense was the difference in both contests. The Eagles
held Westlake to just six third quarter points on their way to a
62-50 win. The Pirates one-upped that by holding Avon Lake to just
four third quarter points in their 53-35 win.
For Rocky River,
Avon Lake threw a new look at them and it was just a matter of adjusting.
a wrinkle at us that we hadn't seen," Thompson said. "We made some
adjustments. They cut Mike Corrigan's penetration off which he was
able to do against North Olmsted and many opponents. We regrouped
and he was able to get back to the basket again. The first half
was a little of wake-up but they scored four points in the third
quarter because I thought we defended well forcing a lot of turnovers."
Corrigan has been vital but says that his entire team has been playing
their roles correctly.
Olmsted’s Joe Weir attempts a shot against Westlake (Photo by
taken the lead but on any give night our post players have really
started to play better. Craig Murford and Brent Bartlett both have
stepped up. We are getting so much consistency from Zach Haudenschild
as well his leadership. Dusty O'Neil is playing well. It is coming
in spurts from different players, but it was been a lot of fun with
this group because I think they are really starting to understand
what we are trying to do."
program prides itself on rebounding and defending. They did neither
well against Rocky River. Their once high-flying confidence was
grounded to a halt. It affected their first half against Westlake.
"We lost on
Tuesday by 19 to Rocky River," Schmotzer said. "When you get beat
like that and give up 25 layups and 16 offensive rebounds, like
it or not it shakes your confidence. It was evident tonight. We
just don't seem right like we were earlier in the season."
led 21-13 with five minutes remaining in the first half. Westlake
got back in the game by penetrating. It allowed them to get to the
line where they were 11 of 12 in the first half. A buzzer-beating
three from Brett Henderson tied the game at the half.
got big efforts on the boards in the third quarter from Joe Valponi
and Jason Mahon. Their workman-like effort restored order to the
North Olmsted game plan.
was pretty upset at half time," Mahon said. "We came out with more
energy and we took it to them rather than them taking it to us.
Coach always says when we rebound and get out and run is when we
are at our best."
the second half defensive effort more than he did the first half.
"In the second
half, we tried to defend," Schmotzer said. "We held them to six
points in the third quarter which is key. If we rebound, we are
a pretty good team; if we don't rebound, we are going to struggle
on the defensive and offensive end."
made just two of seven free throws in the first half, so Westlake
sent them to the line in the fourth quarter in an attempt to get
back in the game. The Eagles made 10 of their final 11 free throws.
"At the end
of games, we have been a good free throwing shooting teams," Schmotzer
said. "Westlake was banking on us to miss free throws to get back
into the game. If we miss some, then it is a different game. It
was a good win. Our psyche is a little bruised, but hopefully that
will build our confidence."
to 3-10 with just one win in the conference. Schmotzer sympathizes
with the rough season that Westlake coach Art Daniels's squad is
has always been a class guy," Schmotzer said. "It is always a pleasure
to coach against him."
once again his team was in the ballgame but could not get the needed
"The key to
the game was the second half," Daniels said. "I thought North Olmsted
just came out and out-worked us. We didn't start out strong, but
I was pleased with our effort in the second quarter to tie back
up the ball game before the half. But we didn't come out in the
second half with that same kind of energy. We have to attack whether
we are on offense or defense for whatever reason we stopped doing
that. North Olmsted earned the win."
Losing so many
close games can have a draining effect on a ball club.
"It wears a
great deal," Daniels admitted. "It is frustrating for the coaches,
the fans and most of all for the players. They are out there working
their butts off and have done everything we asked in practice. They
have great attitudes and a fun group to be around but we can't get
over the hump to get a W. We have to find a way to get it done."
Fairview Friday night and then travels to Rocky River on Saturday
night. North Olmsted travels to Bay on Friday before hosting Avon
Lake on Saturday. Rocky River will begin the weekend looking for
revenge at Amherst.
us by two earlier in the year," Thompson said. "I think out kids
are playing as hungry as they ever have. I think it is a motivator