By Barb VanSickle-Roush
The Scioto County Candor
The Cinderella Green Bobcats’ tournament run came to an end Saturday as they fell to the Peebles Indians 57-41.
“I was told they (Peebles) were good,” said the Bobcats head Coach Dirk Hollar. “People weren’t kidding, they (Peebles) are as advertised.”
The atmosphere at the Ohio University Convocation Center was truly intense as both Green and Peebles packed in very large and loud crowds.
It was clear from the beginning that both teams had come out to play, but the Bobcats never could seem to close the gap between themselves and the Indian’s. Working throughout the second quarter to close the point gap, the closest Green was able to come was 11 points, going into half-time with a score of 41-30.
Even after a much better showing in the second half, moving their feet better, and picking up key rebounds, the Bobcats were unable to overtake the Indians with the final score of 57-41.
No matter what the score was at the end of the game, after the roller coaster season Green had, a District Runner-Up title is nothing to be ashamed of.
“At the beginning of the year we started off hot, then there was a cold streak, it was like a roller coaster. We won our first three games then we lost four in a row, then we’d win one then lose one.,” said Hollar.
The early issue that came for Green was having 10 games in the month of December gave the boys little time to come together as a team.
“The month of December was really tough because we played every Tuesday – Friday – Saturday, then coming back and playing Tuesday – Friday – Saturday, so getting them to gel that first month was a struggle,” Said Coach Hollar.
“Then after Christmas, it seemed like we caught a break at Reedsville,” continued Hollar. “From then on, we just kept building and building and building it was a good run, the kids continued to fight and continued to battle, and they are coachable. That’s what I’ve said all year. This group is probably one of the first groups I’ve had that are very coachable, they look you in the eye, they play their role, and they do everything you ask them to do. It’s been a fun ride.”
The problem with having a younger team is sometimes the pressure gets to them. Peebles has quite a few Seniors on their team, and Saturday it showed.
“Their guards proved tonight that it’s tough to play against seniors and we’re Juniors and Sophomores. My starting five are four Juniors and a Sophomore,” said Hollar.
No matter how seasoned a player you are, it’s hard to step up and lead in a game like this. But on Saturday, it wasn’t just one player who stepped up for the Bobcats, it was the whole team coming together to keep each other pumped up.
“Zach Huffman got on transition, he’s just so fast. I thought Gage Sampson had a good first half,” said Hollar. “(Peebles) did a really good job on Tayte (Carver) and Tanner (Kimbler) and everybody knows that Tayte and Tanner are our best two players, and as a coach I probably should have done a better job of getting those two freed up.”
“As for leadership, this group has always come together and gotten after each other and pumped each other up,” continued Hollar. “I know Rylee is always getting the kids going where he’s a Senior and these Juniors have really accepted their leadership roles so hands down all of them pretty much. They are a good group together and they love each other, and I hope we can come back here and have a different result next year.”
However, for Green this season, there has been one name that has been mentioned above all the rest.
“Tanner Kimbler, he’s flat out our best player,” said Coach Hollar. He can shoot it from everywhere, he’s just really grown the last two years.”
“I think if I had to pick one kid I think it would have to be Tanner Kimbler,” continued Hollar. “I mean lights out, coachable kid, and I love him. He listens to everything you say and he’s a class act, the kids love him at school. The Kimbler kid is special and I’m so glad I’ve got him for another year.”
As for the future, this is not the last time you will hear the Bobcats name and playoff in the same sentence.
“We’re losing Rylee Maynard and he’s a great kid, and I love him to death, and me and him have been in some crazy, crazy games and everything. It will be sad to see him go,” Hollar continued. “But I’m really looking forward to the future with these next three classes coming up.”
No matter what the future holds for the Green Bobcats, it was clear from the reaction of their fans at the Convo, that they could not be prouder of their boys. As the team was getting their runner-up metals and trophy, the Green cheer block and fans were on their feet chanting “We Love Our Boys”.