It doesn't matter how you win, just, that you win. Coach Paul Wayne and his Holgate Tigers bring new meaning to winning ugly. The Tigers, held scoreless for a quarter on Friday, didn't want a repeat performance today. Friday's win; advanced them into today's final against Marion Local, a team looking for a repeat in Division IV.
The Flyers may have lost their starting five from last season, but enough talent returned for a strong tournament run and placement into the finals.
Winning with basic fundamentals has been a 27-year staple for Holgate's top man. The coach has won 385 total games, with the biggest one missing from his list. Could this Henry County School, with 58 boys win the title? On paper many said no, but the kids, coach, and fans could feel something special was ready to happen.
While the Tiger faithful may have felt something special was ready to happen, Marion Local backers had faith that their team and the path taken in reaching the finals for a second straight year, would prove more than Holgate could mustard. A win today, and the Flyers join 13 Ohio schools in winning back-to-back titles. They would also provide the MAC bragging rights that their conference is the strongest in the state.
The game started slowly, and would keep its pace until the final horn. Hitting a 3 at the 7:39 mark, put Holgate up and the Tigers never looked back. Earnest Ferguson posted a great game in the final, scoring 14 points and pulling down 11 boards. The big man made a statement about small school players, and some college coach needs to give Coach Wayne a call about this kid. The Tigers also received 11 points from Drew Clady. For the game, the Tigers would shoot 46.6% from the field.
Hitting 26.3% for the game, the Flyers would see their season come up short of their goal. Ryan Winner would score 10, and Adam Kremer 9, but in the end, Holgate would be crowned DIV champion with a 40-32 victory.
The crowd and family from Holgate showed its pride. Praise from friends and family rained on the coach and his team. And the players showed emotion during the awarding of medals. The coach talked with pride about his players and the school that's allowed him the chance to coach for so many years.
Marion Locals points total (32) is the lowest posted in a state tournament since 1963 when Marion Harding lost to Columbus East 41-32 in a Class A Final.