SSC finale what high school sports is all about



I’ve seen the Standish-Sterling boys basketball team play several games this season, but I think I saw the best one yet March 3 in Buena Vista.

Unfortunately, the game saw SSC getting their only loss of the season, 74-69, against a team that goes deep into the state tournament every year.

But, for me, personally, the game created an atmosphere that I have not experienced since I was a student at Whittemore-Prescott.

Fans from both sides were loud, at times rowdy, and on the edges of their seats. Albeit the SSC fans were on their game from the beginning, and the BV fans didn’t really wake up until the second half. But as the game wound down to the waning moments, every basket, whistle and timeout was met with a roar from the crowd — packed like sardines in a sweatbox of a gym.

There was some light taunting from the crowd, mixed with some one-upmanship — including a dazzling display of sideline gymnastics by Boom Squad captain Ryan Davis in response to the BV’s cheerleaders’ act — but it was all in good fun.

As for the game on the court … pardon my French … but ooohhhweeee!

It was a barnburner, to say the least. It had a little bit of everything. There was physicality: exhibit 1, Dylan Williams getting a gash above his eye after a three-player collision that sent him to the doctor for stitches and a Buena Vista player cartwheeling through the air (I thought he was going to break his neck).

There were big shots: my adopted little homie Bobby Sanch, aka Rob Clutch, knocked down a big three late, as did Klutch Karbs (aka Trevor Karbowski), whose triple brought the game within one point.

Role players stepped up — hustling and diving for loose balls, drawing charges (Big Mike!), getting offensive rebounds, providing a spark off the bench.

And of course, as is the case with any great teams, there was individual dominance: Cole Walderzak used his height and strength to own the paint, scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 boards. Credit also has to be given to Buena Vista’s George Goodman, who scored 28 for the Knights. Goodman, if you aren’t aware, is the state’s top scorer, and provided plenty of late-game heroics for BV Thursday night.

Even the SSC players who never saw the court deserve some credit. I was impressed with the way they continued to encourage their teammates, popping out of their seats each time a big play was made. It’s too common these days to see players on the bench with their shoulders slumped, heads down, sometimes wearing a smirk. But not these guys. Kudos to them.

To sum it up, the scene was amazing. I saw a team full of players that were ready to go to war for each other, and fans and coaches that had their backs.

I’ve gotten the chance to know several of the SSC players through various means — maybe our families became intertwined through marriages, or they live close to me, I probably covered them in other sports, and some volunteered for my campaign last year — so needless to say, I was pulling for the boys.

All in all, the gym was too hot. The bleachers were too uncomfortable, and SSC came out on the wrong end of the scoreboard.

It was pretty much awesome. Good luck in districts boys. Your community loves you.


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