When you have 10 coaches voting for the Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Basketball Team, and five of them represent the Suburban Lakes League, you might be a little concerned about the fate of the other five teams from three other leagues.
But basketball coaches have a respect for each other, no matter where they coach.
If you went to any regional tournament game at Bowling Green State University’s Anderson Arena or the University of Toledo’s Savage Hall, you will see most of them seated in the general admission section watching their associates at work.
And most of them would congratulate their associates on the spot, if they could. They will at the District 7 coaches meeting or at other association meetings when coaches get together. Or maybe this weekend at the state tournament in Columbus, where you will find nearly every varsity coach in Ohio in attendance.
So it is no surprise that the five SLL coaches were among 10 local coaches that fully supported the efforts of Waite coach Dave Pitsenbarger.
The 44-year-old Pitsenbarger, a 1983 Waite graduate, has returned to Waite and made the Indians a bona fide CL contender. It started last season.
Under Pitsenbarger in 2007-08, the Indians had one of their most successful seasons in years. They advanced to the CL final four, losing to St. John's Jesuit in overtime in the semifinals, before winning a sectional title and losing to eventual state semifinalist Whitmer by eight points in the district semifinals.
This season, Pitsenbarger had to replace six seniors from that team, including the school's all-time leading boys’ scorer, Khari Riley (16.2 points). To his advantage were that the Waite freshmen and junior varsity teams also reached the CL final four last year.
This year, Waite went on to win the CL regular season title (10-1) and finished the season 14-6, losing to Scott in the Division I Sectional final at Central Catholic’s Sullivan Center.
Of 10 coaches and 10 area media personnel representing The Press and Toledo Sports Radio.com, Pitsenbarger got 10 votes to win the 2009 Alan Miller Jewelers Coach of the Year honor.
"We have a tremendous staff that puts in the hours you need to be successful," Pitsenbarger said. "We have quality kids, but the biggest thing is my staff putting in the time in the summer and in the weight room and doing what it takes to be successful. We split duties checking the kids' grades.
"The staff and administration have been supportive of us. It's been a community effort. The parents have gotten involved and the fans, the ticket takers...you name it. That dedication makes the difference."
Todd Henline followed with seven votes after coaching Eastwood to the schools’ first undefeated season in SLL boys’ basketball. Genoa coach Jeff Overmyer also received votes.
On top of that, five Waite players joined Pitsenbarger in receiving acclamation — including the Player of the Year choice and two on the first team.
Waite 6-3 senior guard/forward Darius Glover was chosen Player of the Year by an overwhelming margin. Glover got 12 votes, Eastwood 6-6 junior center Clay Rolf followed with four votes, and Gibsonburg 6-5 senior wing Tony Egbert and Northwood 6-2 junior wing Ryan Canaday also received votes.
Glover (18.1 pts., 9 reb., 2.8 steals, 2.7 asst.) was a First Team CL choice, First Team District 7 Division I selection, Channel 11 Player of the Week two times, and a 1470 WCWA “Sonic” Player of the Game this season.
But Glover is not the lone Waite player on The Press’s First Team. He is joined by his teammate, 6-1 sophomore guard Ke-Sean Harris (15.8 pts., 2.5 reb., 2.1 steals, 1.7 asst.), a Second Team CL choice and Second Team District 7 choice.
Rounding out the first team is Rolf, Egbert, and Clay senior guard/forward Drew Kuns, who after leading the City League in scoring much of the season had to sit out the final weeks because of suffering an injury during practice.
After Clay’s season ended with a sectional final loss to St. John’s Jesuit at Waite’s Grant Murray Field House, Kuns (18.2 pts., 8.2 reb.) sighed about having to miss the final weeks even though he had gotten through a tough, physical campaign as Clay’s starting quarterback during football season virtually unscathed.
City League coaches also recognized Kuns’ basketball skills by honoring him as a First Team selection, and so did District 7 coaches.
Rolf ended the season with a double-double, averaging 15.2 points and 11.5 rebounds. The Eagle junior blocked 66 shots and made 69.2 percent of his two-point field goal attempts.
Egbert led the area and the SLL in scoring at 20.7 points per game, and closed out a double-double average with 11.8 rebounds. He also set a Gibsonburg school record with 51 blocks, led the team with 31 steals, and had nearly two assists per game. He also set school records for blocks in a game (8), was a First Team All-SLL selection, and was the second leading vote getter in District 7 voting, getting First Team.