The perfect season for the 28-0 Rich Hill Tigers came to an end last night at Clinton against the Skyline Tigers. The game was true to form and was a back and forth contest with the winner advancing to the 2A quarter finals. Both teams took their turn at trying to deliver the knock out punch against the other.
Early in the game it seemed that Skyline was holding the upper hand as the Rich Hill squad seemed to have trouble getting their offense on track. At the half the Rich Hill Tigers trailed 24-30.
In the third quarter the Tigers seemed to gain momentum and were able to tie the score at 43-43. The fourth quarter turned out to be exciting for all fans as Rich Hill was able to take the lead but in the closing seconds the Skyline team was able to launch that final desperation shot that all kids who play the game dream of hitting and Skyline walked off with the victory with the final score of 59-57.
The loss was extremely bitter for the Rich Hill boys who had worked so hard to overcome a heart breaking defeat in the quarter finals the year before in Clinton. It is a game that will be mulled over for weeks to come. Also it is the type of game that people will alway point to one factor that could have changed the outcome. The fact is there is never just one thing but a series of outcomes that determine the results of a contest. The boys did the best they could and even though the team didn’t win doesn’t mean the season was not a success. Sports is a vehicle of teaching lessons of life and as in life you don’t alway get what you want. The question then becomes, is hard work and sacrifice really worth it. The answer is yes. This group of boys have worked since junior high to achieve success. They have learned to work as a cooperating group, how to show up to a job and what the results of that hard work. They have learned to follow instruction and how to learn from their mistakes. They have learned responsibility for their own actions. Most of all, hopefully they have learned to have fun and build relationships that will last a life time. Along the way this group has learned to share the really good times and help each other in the disappointments. This Rich Hill Tigers squad has set some new highs for Rich Hill Boy’s Basketball.
*They are the first group to win back to back district titles at the 2A level.
*They have won the first WEMO Conference title in many years.
*They have established a new season record with the most wins by a boys team with 28 victories.
*They have won 4 tournament championships in the same year.
Even though they fell a little short of their ultimate goal they have achieve at a level everyone can be proud of. We will say goodbye to 7 seniors from this year’s team. The Coaching staff would like to thank the parents of this year’s team who have given so much in so many ways. To the high school staff members who have been supportive to our team. To the administration for their help. To the student body who came and cheered us on to so many victories. To our fans who showed up at our home and away games and for coming early to obtain their favorite seat to cheer from. To those fans who contributed meals and encouragement even when they had no kids playing. This will be a tough loss to get over but the student athlete is one of the most indestructible spirits you will ever find. In early November a new group will take to the practice court in hopes of obtaining that elusive dream of being state champions.