I love this time of year. Oh, it brings back so many memories. As a player. A broadcaster. A coach. And now as a fan. There are tons of ups and downs. Fantastic atmospheres. Tremendous student sections. The sounds. I still get nervous for my friends. High school basketball is at its best in March.
My son Jensen and I snuck over to Montoursville this past Wednesday. We were there early. I wanted to sit courtside to experience all the action. Sullivan County and Northumberland Christian were playing first. The PIAA District 4 Single A Championship was up for grabs. I try to stay unbiased, but the Griffin’s Head Coach, Glenn Vaughan, is a good chum. His assistant Frank Comfort and I also go back quite a way. OK, we were rooting for Sullivan County.
Coach Vaughan is the best in the business. Seriously. His teams are always solid. Glenn gets the most out of his players. Every year. They play hard and make things tough. Sullivan isn’t the most talented bunch, but they are a unit, and they make up for their lack of talent and size with incredible effort — a very well-oiled machine. The Griffins have a very small school. But the district covers a gigantic area. Eagles Mere. Hillsgrove. Forksville. Dushore. And Shunk. Sometimes these kids live 65 miles apart. It’s incredible. Yes. It is a beautiful thing.
Sullivan County played tremendously. Ben Carpenter scored 18 points, Riley King added 16, and the Griffins brilliantly executed on both ends. They controlled the tempo and nipped the heavy favorites. All eight players made big impacts, and the 17-8 Fighting Vaughans are your new District Champs. I was ecstatic. I gave Glenn’s mom Gail who does the book, a big hug. Coach was busy living in the moment. It’s cool. We spoke the next day. Big Frank Comfort simply smiled. The ALL-TIME NCAA COLLEGE SWIM Coach was thrilled for the boys. Congratulations Sullivan. Let’s play some golf soon, guys.
“Winning this game was huge,” Coach Vaughn explained. “I am so happy for the guys. We knew this was possible. Even though NORRY was the favorite. We have been playing well down the stretch. Our guys are really working on the defensive end. The guys were not tight, and they executed our plan. It was a total team win. I am proud of them.”
Game two was St. John Neumann and Muncy. These two rivals were competing for the PIAA District IV Double A crown. Neumann moved up a division this year because of their successes and a transfer who wore glasses. That’s quite an interesting tale, and I am pleading the fifth. Neumann has owned Muncy for the past few seasons. I think the last time the Indians prevailed was in 2012. But again. Everyone has a clean slate in March. Records do not matter. This game was for all the marble and granite.
Muncy was outstanding. They weren’t afraid. The Indians weren’t backing down this time. It was tight at the beginning, but Muncy pulled away late. They played their best game. Coach Greesh had an excellent plan. His guys were possessed, and they controlled the tempo. Everyone was sharp, and they made the right decisions. They worked the ball around the perimeter and were extremely patient. Only five guys touched the floor. No subs. It was insane.
The Indians played a near-perfect game. They shot an incredible 67.6% from the field and went 13 for 18 down the stretch. Muncy dismantled SJNRA’s zone defense which gave it absolutely fits the previous two games. Holy ball movement. They had 23 assists on 25 field goals. Impressive stuff, guys. Davion Hill was sensational. He scored 35 points. But no matter what, Davion did. Muncy had all the answers.
“We developed a plan, and we stuck with it,” Coach Jason Gresh said. “Yes. We executed and hit shots, but that’s what it came down to. We believed in the game plan. We stuck with it. Everyone did their job.”
Cousins Ross and Branson Eyer are my young friends. I went to school with their parents. It has been a joy watching them grow. Yes. Jensen and I were rooting for the Knights, but I was extremely happy for these two. Exceptional kids. My guys. Mikey Fry had 20 points, and he hit some big-time shots. Mikey is heading to Lycoming College next fall. He will be playing golf for the Warriors. Yes. I will be his coach. Congratulations guys. It was a great night in Montoursville. Cheers.