From meager beginnings has come a great coaching career at New Riegel.
Girls coach Steve Lucius achieved his 500th win on Thursday when the Blue Jackets defeated Old Fort 52-9.
Lucius had dabbled a bit as a freshman and junior varsity boys coach at New Riegel before taking a few years off. He was considering getting back into coaching when then New Riegel boys coach Rick DeMoss, who won over 350 games at the school himself, suggested Lucius consider take the vacant girls head coaching position.
Despite inheriting an 0-21 team, Lucius decided to do it. He turned that first team around, from 0-21 to 12-9 and a Midland Athletic League co-championship. Several league titles and two state tournament appearances (1997, 20078) later, Lucius improved his career record to 500-136 with Thursday’s win.
Lucius, 60, said he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
“As long as it’s fun, I’m going to keep on doing it,” Lucius said. “When you’re around a young person’s game, you don’t feel old. It keeps you young. At least, I hope so.”
Another successful coach also was honored recently.
It was senior night at Cincinnati Moeller last Friday, so pregame standing ovations weren’t unusual. What was unexpected was that two of those ovations were for Joe Petrocelli, the longtime Kettering Alter coach who was on the sidelines for the final regular-season game of his nearly 50-year career.
Petrocelli got emotional as he acknowledged the crowd. Among the Moeller and Alter faithful were plenty of Petrocelli supporters, including family, friends, former players and managers, and classmates from his Purcell Marian class of 1956.
The affection in the building was touching, but it didn’t linger past the tip-off. The Crusaders (20-2) pulled away from the Knights (16-5) in the third quarter for a 58-44 Greater Catholic League victory.
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS: Troy Diels earned his 100th career coaching victory as Port Clinton defeated Fostoria 62-51; Dayton Thurgood Marshall’s Mark Alstork, a 6-foot-4 forward averaging 21.4 points a game for the Associated Press’ Division II poll champs, has signed with Drake; Damion Cook scored 25 and New Madison Tri-Village defeated Dayton Stivers 73-63 to complete a perfect 22-0 season and capture the AP Division IV state poll title; Celina’s girls wrapped up the regular season with a 16-game winning streak — 15 by double-digit margins — in beating Elida 75-60; St. Marys Memorial’s Garet Fledderjohann scored 26 of his game-high 40 points in the fourth quarter but the Roughriders still lost 60-52 to Van Wert; and Norwalk blasted Willard 76-43 and Huron 76-54 to extend its regular season winning streak to 42 games.
COUNTING BY 3s: A night after Haviland Wayne Trace beat Edgerton for the Green Meadows Conference championship, Corbin Linder knocked down 10 3-point shots in a 79-45 victory over Ada.
DRAMATIC ACTOR: TJ Metzger hit a 15-foot jumper at the buzzer and totaled 24 points and 10 rebounds to give Ottawa-Glandorf a 55-54 win over Lima Bath, preventing the Wildcats from clinching at least a share of their first Western Buckeye League title since 1970.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: Minster boys basketball fans have learned that their Saturday night plans might be delayed. The Wildcats have played five overtime Saturday night games this season, the most recent being a 51-47 loss at Troy on Saturday.
DOMINATION: University of Toledo recruit Zach Garber, a 6-10 center for tiny Vanlue, scored 45 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked five shots in Saturday’s 84-33 win over Sycamore Mohawk. Garber did most of his damage close to the basket (17 for 20 on 2-pointers) but also knocked down 2 of 3 3-point attempts.
OH SO CLOSE: Cory-Rawson’s Grant Risner just missed a triple-double in the Hornets 70-67 win over Arcadia. The 6-foot-2 junior scored 19 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked nine shots.
CAP CITY KINGS — AGAIN: Columbus Northland, the Division I poll winner, won its seventh consecutive Columbus City League championship game title with a last-second, 55-53 overtime win over Columbus Africentric. It marked the 104th consecutive win in City League play for the Vikings dating to 2006. It also was the third overtime win for Northland this season.
STRENGTH IN NO NUMBERS: New Knoxville’s girls basketball team, with just 11 players in the program and no seniors on the roster, won a share of the Midwest Athletic Conference title, rallying from a 21-11 deficit at halftime to beat Coldwater 45-40. Haley Horstman, who won the MAC player of the year award last year as a sophomore, likely earned her second straight award in scoring 11 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter, wrapping up her regular season scoring title as well.
T TIME: New Bremen led Delphos St. John’s by one, 57-56, with 32 seconds left in overtime, but as St. John’s brought the ball up the court, New Bremen coach Adam Dougherty was called for a technical foul. Curtis Geise put the Blue Jays ahead with two free throws and they then took 20 seconds off the clock on the ensuing possession.
After two more Geise free throws made it a three-point game. New Bremen missed a 3-point attempt and St. John’s Ryan Buescher rebounded the ball and was fouled. After Buescher made the first free throw, Dougherty was hit with a second technical foul. Geise made the two technicals and Bueschur completed his two free throws as the Blue Jays won 64-57 to knock New Bremen out of the three-way tie for first in the Midwest Athletic Conference with St. John’s and St. Henry.