March 17, 2016 Bulldog Sports Round-up
- Published: March 17, 2016
The lesson of loss is profoundly humbling, annoying and disappointing, but something everyone has to learn sometime. For the Yellow Springs Bulldogs basketball team, that lesson unfortunately came on Friday, March 11, in the team’s Division IV regional finals game against the Jackson Center Tigers. The final score was 46–39.
Coach Steve Grasso, in his third year as head coach, led the Bulldogs to an impressive 21–7 season. The team steadily advanced through the ranks, clinching conference championships and winning regional tournament games. Fan busses transported jubilant YSHS fans to games all across the region, and the team sold over 500 tickets to what ended up being their final game of the season.
The Bulldogs scrapped it out with the Tigers at the Fairmont Trent Arena. Grasso said after the game that the Bulldogs “ran into a good defensive team and had a hard time scoring. Our boys fought hard and I’m proud of the way they played.” Jackson Center started out strong and was 16 points ahead by the end of the second quarter, but the Bulldogs fought back, narrowing the gap to three points.
Perennial high-scorer Kaner Butler scored 17 points, with Isaiah Taylor sinking 13 and Ethan Dewine 7.
With the spread closing towards the end of the fourth quarter, a last-ditch effort was mounted. Sadly, however, the Bulldogs succumbed to the Tigers primordial prowess. According to Yellow Springs News photographer Daniel Deaton, the Bulldogs had many chances to hold that three-point difference — including Taylor nailing a three pointer with 24.5 seconds left — but were eventually worn down as Jackson Center pulled away with successful free throws.
“We’re so proud of what we built here,” Grasso told the Dayton Daily News. “We literally started from scratch with a group of sophomores. It’s unbelievable how far we’ve come. We didn’t shoot as well as we normally do and that’s a credit to Jackson Center. They’re the best defensive team we’ve played without question. A couple of those 3’s that we normally make go in and it might be different.”
Yellow Springs Schools athletic director Nate Baker listed off the team’s successes. The 2015–16 season was the most successful season since 1983, when the team advanced to the state semi-finals. This year’s team were Metro Buckeye Conference Champs, Sectional and District Champs and Regional Runner Up. The team also broke Troy Christian’s five-year run as the Metro Buckeye Conference champions.
“To be one of the last eight teams in the state is unbelievable,” Grasso said.
Grasso and his staff did an amazing job as coach, Baker, said, and that it was very easy to cheer for the team because of the way they conduct themselves on the court and as students. Baker said that he — and the school and the rest of the village — will be looking forward to what this year’s momentum will bring next year.