Points, Pistol, and poked and prodded

Shots in the Darke

The big news in the sports world, at least nationally, was Iowa standout Caitlin Clark breaking the all-time NCAA D-I career scoring record previously held by LSU’s Pete Maravich. In scoring 35 point in the Lady Hawkeyes win over number-two ranked Ohio State, Clark pushed her point total to 3,685 for her four year, 130-game tenure in Iowa City. She has become a transformative figure in women’s basketball and an economic powerhouse for women’s sports in general.

Let’s take a brief look at “Pistol Pete’s” college career in Baton Rouge, playing for his father Press Maravich from 1967 through 1970. Rules at the college level were a little different back then—freshmen weren’t eligible to play varsity basketball (some quaint notion that academic studies were actually important for incoming student-athletes!), there was no shot clock in use, and there was no three-point line.

Maravich recorded 3,667 points in three years of play, covering only 83 games and never appearing in an NCAA tournament contest. Averaging an incredible 44.2 points per game for his CAREER he was also a tremendous ball handler and passer, one of the most entertaining players in college basketball history. With a floppy hairdo and saggy gray socks (being superstitious he wore the same pair of socks throughout his career), the 6’5” showman packed arenas throughout the nation. Most analysts agree that if the three-point shot had been around he would have averaged almost 54 points per game!

To learn more about the “Pistol”, Google the many sites dealing with his background.

Named one of the NBA’s Top Fifty Players in the late ‘90s, he passed away at age 40 playing a pickup basketball game in a church gymnasium. As a side note, his father was the college roommate of the late Greenville High School Athletic Director and Coach John Suba at tiny Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia.

Congratulations to girls’ district basketball champions as they move into the regional semi- finals this week. Area schools making the “Sweet Sixteen” in D-IV are Mississinawa Valley, Marion Local, Fort Loramie, and Russia. The Lady BlackHawks and Lady Flyers meet Thursday at Butler’s Student Activity Center at 6:00, followed by the Fort and Russia contest. Meanwhile the Lady Tigers of Versailles take on Alter in D-III action Wednesday at 8:00 in Springfield High School’s gymnasium.

On the boys side of the ledger, four area teams will appear in D-III district finals beginning with Tri-Village facing Cincinnati Summit Country Day at 5:30 Tuesday at UD Arena with Preble Shawnee taking on Williamsburg in the 7:30 game. Wednesday Versailles squares off with Cincinnati Gamble Montessori at UD in a 5:30 match while Brookville and Mariemont tip off at 7:30.

Driving to Columbus Friday I saw the damage caused by a late winter tornado outside of London. Along the south side of I-70 the Madison County airport was devastated with several hangars and many airplanes destroyed while a short distance away to the east many buildings on the grounds of the OSU Molly Caren Center, home of the annual Farm Science Review were damaged. Fortunately no lives were threatened—it’s tough beating Mother Nature!!

Back to high school sports, D-I boys and girls bowling action takes place Friday at the HP Lanes in the Capital City. In D-II boys competition held over the weekend Coldwater placed fifth led by junior Caleb Wendel’s second place finish, rolling a 702 series, while teammate Kayden Giere was sixth, the senior with a 679. Versailles’ junior Blake Henry placed 12th by recording a 632 series.

In girls play, Versailles’ Lady Tigers were sixth, paced by senior Carlie Gehret’s 557 and junior Danielle Francis’ 531.

The state wrestling tournament begins Friday afternoon at OSU’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus. For a complete list of area grapplers participating on the wrestling mats, check out the OHSAA website, one of the outstanding sources of information for all things dealing with prep sports.

On a sad note, ESPN commentator Chris Mortenson passed away at age 72 following a lengthy illness. I always enjoyed his insights into the NFL and his knowledge of the game.

Speaking of the NFL, the annual Combine was held in Indianapolis the past few days as potential hopefuls were poked, prodded, measured, and assessed although quite a few anticipated top picks passed on the opportunity to participate. Seems to me that more important than the different drills that players are put through that it might be more useful to find out who can really play the game of football! Expect the usual projected selections over the next month or so leading up to the actual draft itself—also expect the usual flops of predicted future stars!!

Finally, I watched our grandson Bennett start AAU age group basketball over the weekend in 12U play over in the Columbus area. It’s always fun to see future high school players in action as they continue developing their skills. In addition, I was in Oxford Saturday night for the Miami hockey game working as an event aide—besides the game with Nebraska-Omaha in the main arena the auxiliary rink was hosting a youth hockey tournament. Talk about dedicated parents! Teams from around Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky were competing with parents and players lugging around duffel bags full of equipment, etc. and staying in lodging as far as an hour or so away. Seems like while there are many facilities that can host large basketball tourneys the number of ice rinks available is minimal!! Have a great week, enjoy the