Bobcat Boys Basketball Coach Jess Quinn Shares Season Summary (03/24/17)
(By Coach Jess Quinn)
The 2016-2017 Clarion Area Boys Basketball Team had a number of memorable games throughout the season. Seniors Ty Burford, Ryan and Reed Anthony, Ceventh Lynch-Skunda, Victor Stahlman, Nick Terwint and Ahmed Ayed gave everything they had throughout their final season wearing the black and orange. As the season came to a close, we were represented well on the All-Conference teams with Cam Craig being selected by the KSAC coaches as a First Team player and Ty Burford was a Second Team selection. There were 16 players selected to fill three teams of five and an MVP of the league. Clarion Area had two players who were thought of by the coaches in the league worthy of an All-Conference award.
Our overall regular season record was 16-6, exactly the same record as the previous year. And for the second straight season the Bobcats came up just short of capturing the KSAC North Title with a 14-2 record in the KSAC. Clarion-Limestone was 15-1 in the KSAC with their only loss coming at the hands of the Bobcats.
When looking at our overall record of 16-7 and analyzing our losses, every loss this season was to a team who made the playoffs in their respective classifications. Our first loss was a heartbreaker to the St. Marys Flying Dutchmen 59-57. With 13 seconds left in the game, the Bobcats had ball. We missed the shot and with 1.7 seconds on the clock, St. Marys put in the winning bucket. St. Marys is a 4A school, double our size and made the D9 playoffs this season.
We entered the Punxsutawney Holiday Tournament and played in the championship game falling to the Chucks. Punxy is also a 4A team and made the D9 Playoffs this season. The next loss was at C-L. Our boys were down most of the game, but in the fourth quarter came alive scoring 31 points in that period alone. Down by just one point with 4 seconds left, it appeared that a Lion had travelled on the in-bounds pass… but that was not the case and we had to foul. The score ended 71-68 Lions.
The next two games were losses to Keystone and Brockway. Both teams made D9 Playoffs and Keystone was the 2017 KSAC Champion. Our only home loss of the year came at the hands of Coudersport, the eventual D9 2A Champion.
So looking at the losses we suffered this season, we lost to 2, 4A schools, the KSAC and District IX Champion, and other 2A schools that made the D9 Playoffs. We had one of the toughest schedules in the KSAC throughout the year. Our out of league schedule was packed with St. Marys, Coudersport, Brockway, and Punxsutawney. Four programs that have been very successful in recent years.
I cannot thank the seniors enough for an outstanding year! Ty Burford, a senior captain, was the backbone of the team. Our offense was most successful when the ball went through his hands. Not that we relied on Ty to score, we were very balanced on offense, but we were a better team when the ball moved inside out. When the middle was packed and defended well, Ty was able to find Ryan or Reed Anthony who were spot on nailing 3 pointers! When they were closed out, they would penetrate and drop a little “floater” over any big guys who would step up to stop them. Ceventh Lynch-Skunda was injured early in the season and it sidelined him for a few weeks. Upon his return, Ceventh was a vital part of our offensive output. Victor Stahlman has worked very hard over the years and did such a great job and played to the best of his ability when he got the opportunity to step on the floor. Nick Terwint and Ahmed Ayed joined the varsity team this year. They also made the most of every opportunity they were given.
The Juniors this year also played a huge role in our success. Cam Craig has been the point guard for the past three seasons. The offense had to run through him. He started off every play and in some cases, finished the play. Cam is like having a coach on the floor. He sees the floor well and anticipates even better. Currently Cam sits at just over 700 points scored in his varsity career and has the potential to hit the 1,000 point mark his senior year. Spencer Miller (aka Spider Man) is one of the most athletic young men I have had the pleasure to coach. His reflexes are incredibly quick and he can get up and down the floor faster than just about anyone in the league. Spencer was tagged with the responsibility of guarding our opponents best players and never shied away from that challenge.
Austin Hummell was one of the most ‘encouraged’ players by Coach Quinn this year. Austin has the most potential and has big shoes to fill as Ty moves on to bigger and better things. Austin is a very smooth player and will be looked upon to score next year. Zak Bauer was our enforcer this season. His job was to keep people out of the paint! He did his job well. Zak’s most memorable quote this season was, “coach, can I go to the restroom? I have to throw up!” This was during conditioning early in the year! But I was very happy to know that Zak was pushing himself to the limit! The final junior this year to wear a varsity jersey was Jacob Selker. Jacob know his role on the team and it is to play great defense and rebound. On every good team, players must know their role in order for the team to succeed. Jacob will be called on next year to do the same, play great defense and rebound the basketball!
There were two Sophomores and a Freshman who by the end of the year were able to help the varsity team. Archer Mills and Gavin Brinkley are going to play pivotal roles on next year’s varsity team. Then threw was Skylar Rhoades. The varsity players were asked part way through the season which JV player they would want to join them on the floor of a varsity game… their reply, “Sky”. It was nearly unanimous. During the varsity game at CUP, Skylar was called upon to get in and rebound the basketball. Skylar did a very nice job in that game.
This season was packed with memorable events for me as a coach. I will always remember the game at Karns City where the Anthony boys lit up the score board with 3’s! Ryan led the team with five 3 pointers and Reed had four. That was a stunning 29 points between them and was the difference in that win! The bus ride home was also unforgettable. “You get a line, I’ll get a pole, We’ll go fishin in the crawfish hole.” The boys were singing their hearts out the entire way home. Another game/moment I will never forget is the biggest win of the season, CL on our home floor! In that game, they boys played the best “TEAM” basketball I have seen! The play I will always remember is the giant 3 pointer Ryan Anthony hit, beating the buzzer and propelling our team to extend our lead heading into the fourth quarter! Looking at that shot, not only was Ryan fired up, the team fired up, but as his coach, I jumped as hight as I could and walked almost out of the gym. I quickly realized the game was not over and returned to the bench! But that shot, Ryan was something you think about as a young kid playing in the back yard and you were able to make that dream shot happen. It truly was the play of the game for us!
These moments are the reasons I coach. The wins and losses will eventually go away, but I hope that each and every young man who spent time playing basketball at Clarion this season takes something with them the rest of their lives. If I yelled at you… and I did, it was only to get you to push yourselves further than you thought possible. I thank you personally, each and every one of you personally for your efforts this season. But that thank you is also extended to our coaching staff. Coach B.J. Wrhen and Coach Tom Lewis, I have leaned on them the past two seasons. The team’s success this year and last rests on their shoulders. So much of the work in practice is done through them. Player match ups are designed based on what they feel gives us the best chance to win. Coach Wrhen is able to speak to the boys as they come off the floor and before they go back in the game. Coach Lewis, unfortunately for him, sits at the end of the bench and must listen to me rant about calls made or not made. He even had to watch me ‘Pete Rose’ across the floor at the Tip-Off Tournament. Not one of my finer moments. There is no way I can ever thank them enough for putting up with me throughout the season, but also no way our team would be as successful as they are without them! We were also very fortunate to have Josh Eberhart join the staff as an intern through Clarion University. Josh was able to communicate with the kids on a different level because he is very close in age to them. It was special for me, as Josh was in my classroom as a 4th grader, many years ago. It was my pleasure to have him join our staff and help the boys this season.
Things were not perfect and I know it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, but overall, I was very pleased with the season and truly thank you for all you have given me and each other the past two years. You boys worked very hard and because of that work were able to play at Tippin Gym. To you seniors, my job now is to watch you become the most successful people you can be. I have no doubt you will accomplish all the things you set you sights on doing. If you survived me, and you did, you can survive and accomplish anything in life! To you underclassmen, get ready to take the next step! Playoffs, CUP, KSAC are all within your grasp. Get ready to put in the necessary work to make those dreams, those goals a reality.
Thank you to our Administration for all the support. Principal John Kimmel and Superintendent Mike Stahlman your support of the team has not gone unnoticed. I can tell you, the team knows when you are at our home games and seems to enjoy performing for you. We could not be successful without your support… Thank you! Mrs. Nancy Mills, our Athletic Director, thank you for putting up with me! I look forward to next year and the following years as your support has been unwavering and very appreciated.
There has been an excitement in the gym at Clarion Area. The reason is the boys on the team and the parents that support them! Our boosters have been incredible the past two seasons. The fatheads on the wall of the gym looked amazing. So a special thank you to The Boys Basketball Boosters and all the parents who supported the boys this year!
(Thanks to Coach Quinn for this season summary. GREAT SEASON, CATS!!!!)