Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I love my job

You know, sometimes this whole preaching thing has its down times (read:  past Villager letters).  Sometimes a day comes along when everything gets validated.  Or at least is just so odd that it has to be noted.

So I’m down at the building getting the clothing building ready for Thursday.  I had to go up to the storage building to get a few boxes and noticed a white car sitting on the other side of the building from where I had parked.  Surely no one is in it, so I walk up to the car to check. 

And see something that I wasn’t necessarily expecting.

Needless to say, the car drove off rather quickly.  What on earth would possess a couple to do something like that in a church parking lot?  Yikes.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Final Four

Certainly everone paying any kind of attention to the basketball events of late is a bit disappointed that we don’t get to watch the Bombers play tomorrow morning for the State Championship.  Those young men wanted to be there as much as those of us who were cheering them on did.  Let’s keep our focus though.

The Windham Bombers made the Final Four in the state of Ohio.  That’s no small feat.  To top it off, we have a great nucleas of players coming back next season, which could very well play to this high level.  Without doubt, we’ll miss the seniors and their leadership of this team, which they’ve done so well.  With Coach Hill and his steady hand guiding these players, great things will continue to come.

And lets just make sure it doesn’t take another 24 years to get back to Columbus again.  I don’t think anyone could take that. 

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Having problems with WQKT?

There’s another feed off of Sportsjuice. It might be a little Columbus Grove biased, but I’m not entirely certain right now. Click the link below to go directly to the feed (hopefully)


edit to add:

Yeah, there's no question to the bias. Yikes.

Radio Schedule

As you may know, WQKT out of Wooster, Ohio (not far from my home!) regularly broadcasts all of the state basketball games.  This season is no different.  Click “here” to go to their schedule and click on the flashing “streaming” icon beside the game at 2:00 pm.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Unfortunate timing...

How many of us got up on Saturday morning and wanted to read the newspaper to see what was said about the Bombers going to State?  Likely many of us.  We weren’t too surprised to see that Kent State garnered the front page news by losing to Pitt.  It wasn’t too surprising considering they’re a major Division 1 college.  Right next to it though was an article about Windham.  Great!  We made the front page by having a great basketba….whoa, what’s going on here?

Its all about how the Village is in financial trouble?  Harrumph!  I can’t believe that they’d pull this one right when we are on the verge of great things happening!

The problem is that at least this time around, we’re probably the victims of unfortunate timing.  With the Village Council meetings being held on Wednesday evening, Thursday word would get out about what happened in that meeting, perhaps concerning Village finances.  Friday the newspaper journalist would contact the Village for comment to be put in the newspaper on Saturday.  So yeah, the timing sucks, but its not some disjointed conspiratorial agenda against Windham.

This time. 

Monday, March 20, 2006


In the continuing effort to bring you all things State Bound Windham Bombers, here’s a link to the whole Division IV bracket in Ohio.  Look at the road that Windham has taken and compare it with the others.

Boys Basketball Division IV Bracket (pdf file)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

More on the Bombers

So the Record Courier isn’t cutting it when it comes to reporting?  Big surprise there.  Here are two articles from the Wooster Daily Record, the closest newspaper to Berlin Hiland.

Half not good enough for Hiland

Daily Record Sports Writer

CANTON - The Hiland boys were the best team on the floor for one half of Friday’s Div. IV Canton Regional championship game against Windham.

It’s just too bad that it was the wrong half.

After two quarters of play, the Cinderella Hawks had gone blow-for-blow with the high-powered Bombers, and even held a slim 34-32 advantage going into the locker room.

But with only 16 minutes left to earn a trip to the Final Four, the Bombers turned it up a notch, outscoring the Hawks 23-14 in the third quarter before hanging on for a 77-69 victory.

“We just didn’t defend today,” said first-year Hiland coach Mark Schlabach, who just missed out on a third straight trip to Columbus after taking Loudonville to the state semis in each of the past two seasons. “We didn’t get stops when we needed them. That’s something we’ve done all year, but today we just didn’t get it done. Usually, we speed other people up, but today, they sped us up.”

The Bombers (22-3) came out flying in the second half, scoring on three of their first four possessions to grab a 49-46 lead.

After trading buckets with the Hawks (20-6) midway through the period, Windham’s Ian McGuire and Matt Heller scored on back-to-back possessions to kick-start an 8-2 run to close out the quarter with a 55-48 lead.

“I think the key to the game was at the half when we switched defenses,” said longtime Windham coach Marty Hill, who’s making his first trip to the state tournament since 1982. “We’d gone man-to-man in the first half and switched to a full-court matchup. We think we’ve got some pretty athletic guards. We got some steals and turned them into easy layups.”

The Bombers opened the fourth quarter with a big 3-pointer from Brett Apthorpe to push the lead to 10.

However, despite leading in the fourth, Hill knew that his team’s lead wasn’t safe against Hiland, which canned six 3-pointers in the first half.

And when Kenny Miller connected from the top of the arc with 3:53 left in the game to trim the lead to six, Hill called a timeout to regroup.

“We took the 3 away for most of the second half,” said Hill. “Hiland is very well coached and they do a great job in their zone offense. It’s really hard to get them out of their rhythm. I told our kids that we had four ideas of what we wanted to do, and by the end of the game, we were on idea No. 4.”

Apparently idea No. 4 worked, though, as Hill’s Bombers forced the Hawks into three turnovers in the final 2:47 to rebuild their lead to 12 points

Hawks’ leading scorer Joel Gause got hot late, scoring eight of his team-best 21 points in the final 1:50, but it wasn’t enough, as the Bombers hit six of their final 10 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

“Give Windham credit, because I don’t want to take anything away from them,” said Schlabach. “But our guys know that we didn’t play our best game today, and you can’t not play your best and end up in Columbus.”

Behind Gause, the Hawks got 13 points from Clinton Yoder, while Phil Major finished with 10 points and four assists. Dustin Kaufman added eight points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

Windham was led by Heller’s 19 points and six assists, while McGuire (18 points), Apthorpe (17) and Phil Workman (10) also reached double figures in scoring.

Still, eight weeks ago, it’s doubtful many saw the Hawks even appearing in a regional tournament, let alone playing for a trip to Columbus.

“I think we got focused about Game 15 this year,” said Schlabach. “We knew we couldn’t win a league championship, but we wanted to judge the success of our program by how we do in the tournament. We tried to focus on the tournament, but we didn’t accomplish our goal of getting to Columbus. I do think that it set the tone for years to come, though.”
And number two…
Judge Hawks by way they finished
Daily Record Sports Writer

CANTON - At the beginning of the 2005-06 season, Hiland boys coach Mark Schlabach said to judge his team by what it would be at the end of the year, not the beginning.

The Hawks came to a fork in the road midway through the season.

They were coming off losses to Inter-Valley Conference rivals Garaway and Sandy Valley and were out of the league race.

But from that point on, the Hawks rolled.

They won 10 of their next 11 games, with the one loss coming to Triway (ranked fourth in final Div. II AP Poll) at the Pit.

“I thought we got focused around Game 15 this year,” Schlabach said.

That all culminated in a loss at Friday night’s Div. IV Canton Regional final.

The team obviously turned the right way when they met their fork in the road, but when they went up against Windham, the Bombers were just too much.

“We just didn’t get stops in the second half,” Schlabach said. “We flat out couldn’t stop them, they were scoring at will.”

HE’S NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THAT - That wasn’t the story in the first half.

The Hawks were able to shut down the scoring combination of Ian McGuire and Brett Apthorpe, holding the pair to nine points on 2-of-8 shooting.

What the Hawks didn’t expect was big-time scoring from Bombers’ point guard Matt Heller.

The 5-10 junior came into the contest averaging seven points and seven assists.

But he exploded in the first half against the Hawks with McGuire in foul trouble and Apthorpe ineffective.

“Matt Heller just kept us in the game,” Windham coach Marty Hill said. “He probably took more shots in the first half than he has in the entire tournament.”

McGuire and Apthorpe came back strong in the second half, though, finishing the game with a combined 35 points.

“We expected that from Apthorpe and McGuire,” Schlabach said. “But we weren’t expecting it from (Heller).”

LONG TIME COMING - It’s been 24 years, but Hill has finally made it back to the state semifinals.

In his 32 years at Windham, he’s coached his teams to 10 regional tournaments, but only making it to state in 1977 and 1982.

There have been some trying times in those 24 years, including a matchup with a loaded Columbus Worley team in the early nineties.

“They had five guys go on to play Div. I ball,” Hill said. “We went to scout them and their JV players were dunking.”

The past two seasons, his teams made it to Canton, bowing out in the regional semifinals both times.

But Hill and the Bombers had an X-factor on their side this time.

“I told the kids, sort of for confidence, that I’ve been to 10 regionals,” he said, “and that we’d only played in two regional finals and won both of them.”

ONE GAME SHORT - With the loss, the Hawks fell one game short of their first trip to Columbus since 2000.

While not many people at the beginning of the year saw them as a state-caliber team, they proved all doubters wrong, peaking at the right time and taking Windham to the limit before falling.

The team lost six seniors off their 2004-05 squad. Needless to say, they were short on talent.

But over the course of four months, they evolved from a team struggling for an identity into a talented - and now tournament-seasoned - team.

While Schlabach was surprised at his team’s success, he knew never to doubt his team.

“I don’t want to put limits on the players,” he said. “I don’t think the kids played above their talent level.

“About six or seven games ago, we started playing defense and rebounding better. We just didn’t do that tonight.”
By the way, Hiland’s girls basketball team has become back to back state champions, beating East Canton 59–54.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

On the national side

Curious about how things work in Congress when it comes to budget time?  Check out this interview by Hugh Hewitt with Congressman John Campbell.  Mr. Campbell has been a congressman for 90 days and has had 63 requests for earmarks to be added to the budget. 

Put simply, a lot of people want to get their hands on “free” government money.

His solution?

We need a spending limit, and we need a line item veto. And I'm not sure that anything else is going to stop it, just because of the way that Congress works with individual...with so many members and so many interest groups.


WINDHAM - At the recent Village Council meeting, a change in the official seal of the Village of Windham was proposed.

Photo courtesy of Homestarrunner.com

And for goodness' sake, yes, its a joke. Sheesh.


Definitely going out to the basketball team.  Even though my home school was defeated, it was one of the best games that I’ve seen in years.  Of course, I haven’t seen a high school basketball game since 1992, but that’s beside the point.

Watching ONN this evening, it seems that Windham will be playing Columbus Grove, with a record of 20 – 5.  Grove has been on quite a streak in the playoffs and before it, and has a “feel good” quality to folks in the middle of the state, much like Windham to everyone in our community. 

If Coach Hill can continue to motivate these young men the way that he has been since the beginning of the season, the next game should not only be a fun one to watch, but should also be a win. 

As I was walking out of the game tonight, I saw some friends from back home and they asked me if the team always played that well.  The answer was obviously yes, and they were surprised that they’d not heard of Windham before, apart from my talking about the Village.  I’m still befuddled by the fact that the team wasn’t ranked in the AP polling, especially considering their caliber of play during the last three weeks of the season.  Perhaps it has something to do with the PTC being a young league or some such. 

Regardless, we have a fine team and excellent coaching staff to represent us in Columbus next week.  No matter what happens, this team will always be a great team because of the people involved.

Friday, March 17, 2006


Well, tonight is the Regional Championship game down in Canton and I find myself in a bit of a pickle.  Its something that I realized a few weeks back might happen, but the moment of truth has come.  Its confession time though.

I graduated from Berlin Hiland High School.

The passion that many of you all feel for all things Windham Bomber-ish, I feel for my beloved Hiland Hawks.  The ground that the late Perry Reese walked on is nearly holy in the area where I grew up.  Basketball is king.  The high school was able to build an entire arena for its basketball teams that cost over 1.5 million dollars solely on private donations.  There are 1600 seats in the gym, of which 900 belong to season ticket holders.  People put directives in their Wills as to where those season tickets go.  Last I heard the waiting list for season tickets was nearly seven years.

Put simply, we eat, sleep, and breathe basketball.  The girls basketball team played yesterday in the State Semifinal game, beating Fort Loramie 49–47.  They play East Canton for the State Championship on Saturday. 

This is a huge weekend for people in East Holmes.  Even the Amish are going crazy, as they always do.  They love their basketball too.  You can’t drive a half mile without seeing a sign in support of the Hawks, stretching to the county border and beyond. 

I expect the game between Windham and Hiland to be an excellent game, as both teams have similar styles.  Unity and team play is emphasized very strongly on both teams.  Neither team could be characterized as dirty.  They can both put up big numbers very quickly.  It should be a great game to watch no matter who wins.

I’m torn.

Admit it though, if you lived in Berlin and you were watching the local team play Windham, wouldn’t you be too?