The Wooster High boys basketball team has three games left in its regular season before its second chance, its second season, arrives. Of course, everyone’s second season is close at hand as the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s postseason tournament is ready to begin and the Generals are looking to find a bit of redemption when it arrives.
Wooster snapped a three-game losing streak with a 53-47 win over Triway Feb. 11 and then headed to Canton the following day for its tournament draw. The Generals are now 7-10 overall and earned the 10th seed in the 11-team tournament at the Canton Civic Center.
The northeast Ohio tournaments will have a new look with the addition of a new tournament site in Alliance.
“We have 11 teams, but they’ve switched districts around,” said Wooster coach Craig Martin. “(Canton) used to be the eight Federal League schools and a couple Youngstown teams, Canton Timken, McKinley and us. They created another site for Alliance for Division I, so they split the teams from Copley and Canton. Instead of 14 teams, we now have 11.
“We were the 10th seed out of 11 and we ended up getting a bye. We play the winner of McKinley and Ellet (2-16), who is new to (Canton). Barberton is new, Garfield is new and Kenmore is new … and we lost Hoover, GlenOak, Lake and Boardman.”
Canton Timken, 14-3 overall, was the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Canton McKinley was second with a 10-7 record, followed by Barberton (9-5) and Massillon (7-7).
“One of the nice things about getting a bye is we won’t play until Saturday, March 3 (8:30 p.m.),” said Martin. “That gives us a week and a day to prepare for them. That extra preparation time will be nice for us to put our game plan together and watch film and go through the scouting report and their personnel and go on the court to break down exactly what we want to do. Ellet plays Tuesday, Feb. 28, so we’ll have an opportunity as a team to go watch them play in the first round.
“From our standpoint, it’s nice to have that extra time. We’ve had some years where we play our last game Friday and play a tournament game Monday with only two day’s preparation.”
That won’t be the case this season and Martin hopes he can make good use of that time.
“With a young team, as the season progresses, your hope is you’ll get better as the season goes on,” said Martin, whose team won its opening tournament game a year ago before losing to an 18-4 Jackson team. “We’ve done that. It hasn’t shown up in the win column like we’d like, but we’re building toward getting better.”
The key, he said, is to play with consistency.
“We have nights where we execute and play with energy and effort and take care of the basketball, and when we do that we can compete with anybody,” said Martin. “It’s that consistency and that’s what we’re working toward. Some nights the energy and effort are there, but the execution isn’t, or the execution is and the energy isn’t.
“There are two seasons in Ohio – the regular season and the second season. Everyone is undefeated as far as the tournament is concerned. We have to prepare and take it one game at a time.”
Wooster will close the season with an Ohio Cardinal Conference game against Lexington Feb. 17 in its final home game of the season. It will travel to Ellet Saturday for an up-close-and-personal look at the Orangemen and then play at Mansfield Senior in its season finale.
Should Wooster win its first playoff game, it will take on the winner of the Massillon and Akron Kenmore game on Thursday, March 8, at 7 p.m.
Published: February 16, 2012