Kurt Goettemoeller, the 11-year head basketball coach at Marion local, is used to “starting the climb back up the ladder” in late December, a full month after most other schools have opened the roundball sport.
The Flyers, 4-0, before Thursday’s game versus St. Henry, climax a three-game week with an interesting Friday tilt at Botkins, unbeaten at 8-0. Game time is approximately 1:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve afternoon.
Flyers football players and coaches, led by head man Tim Goodwin, usually set the bar extremely high for the Goettemoeller teams with a deep run into the football playoffs and often, like this year, a state championship. In all, Marion Local has won 12 state football titles.
But this season that lofty bar can be “reached” right away, without waiting until January or February. You see, the Flyers fashion two basketball players at 6-3, two more at 6-4, one at 6-7, and yet another at six feet and eight inches tall.
ScoresBroadcast.com will be on the scene for Friday’s contest. WMVR radio, 105.5 TAM FM, simulcasts. Air time with comments from both coaches is at 1 p.m.
The Trojans, too, sport significant size.
Jacob Pleiman stands 6-6 and brother Carter is 6-5. Dylan Topp, who turned in his best game of the season last Thursday versus Fairlawn, is 6-4. Elijah Stewart and Jordan Herzog, at 6-5 and 6-3, respectively, come off the bench.
For Marion Local, seniors and football stars Brady Ronnebaum and Peyton Otte run the show out front. Junior Jadyn Mescher scores from the wing. Senior Hudson Rose at 6-4 and soph Jack Knapke, who some say might be close to 6-9, man the posts. In addition, freshman Austin Niekamp, who is nearly Knapke’s height, has played a fair amount already and tallied eight and 11 points in two games.
Friday’s matinee may be a preview of a confrontation between the two programs way down the road, called the tournament trail.
Although coaches and players would rather not talk about it, the media enjoy conversation that explores when two teams might hook up again. The Ohio High School Athletic Association just announced that Division IV Midwest Athletic Conference schools will compete in the Wapakoneta district, with the winner heading to the Bowling Green northwest regional in March.
Like always, Shelby County Athletic League programs will take part in southwest district and regional action. According to the OHSAA, the boys regional is back at Kettering.
Over much of the previous decade, a Wapakoneta district champ was sent to a southwest regional site. Not so, however, in the boys or girls D-IV tournaments for 2022.
So it’s pretty easy to decipher when a second Botkins-Marion Local meeting “could possibly” happen. Two words: like “much later,” as in “UD.”
“Not concerned at all about looking far ahead,” coaches say this time of year. “Got to keep improving, focus on league play, and then hopefully advance through our very tough sectional and district tournaments.”
These comments are spot on. Playing the better nonconference opponents occasionally throughout the schedule is an excellent way to expand skills and create chemistry for the long haul.
Botkins hurdled one such foe in Springfield Shawnee at the Elk Elite Showcase, 61-57.
Hurdling past Marion Local will be a steeper climb.