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03-24-03: Flyers rooting for each other
Sports Writer
    COLUMBUS - A nice simple motivational thought.
    "Don't let the girls outdo ya," said Marion Local's Chad Otte if there was anything said prior to the Flyers chance at trying to become the third team to win the boys and girls state basketball titles in the same season.
    "That was in the back of our minds."
    And that message was from the girls basketball team themselves.
    Throughout the tournament, the boys and girls have been there for each other. When the girls played, the boys were there to support and vice versa.
    "It's been great," said Craig Wolters. "No one was rooting against the other saying 'You can't go farther than we did.' We were like 'Go get it, bring it home.'
    "It definitely feels good to get the state title," continued Wolters. "There's no more 'Hey, the girls won, you gotta do it too.' It's all set and equal."
    The Ohio High School Athletic Association was also proud of the double victory, allowing the girls team to come to the floor after the game and awards presentation to have a photo taken with the boys team."
    It didn't hurt matters that 11 of the 15 Flyers played on two state football teams, including starters Wolters, Nick Prenger, Otte and Jay Schwieterman.
    "We got beat this year in the regional finals and I think that fueled our success," said Wolters. "We weren't going down in basketball too."
    "Yeah, that definitely was some motivation," said Otte.
    The players had high praise for the numerous fans making their way down Ohio 274 to U.S. 33 to get to Columbus.
    "They're unreal," said Otte. "The numbers we bring to every game. Our gym is always packed and so are most of the MAC gyms. It's just great to have that kind of support."
    Interesting observation - In the state tournament, three officials are designated as reserve officials. These officials are only brought in to officiate in the event that a working official cannot continue for any reason.
    The position is on a rotating basis with one reserve sitting at the scorers table each game.
    In the ultimate of coincidences, the reserve official for the Marion Local-Crestview game was Coldwater native Tim Buschur, the commissioner of the Midwest Athletic Conference.
    Buschur is a veteran official who has officiated state tournaments in the past.
    Buschur was able to stay seated for the entire game as the crew of James Hood, Don Griffin and Roger Levi handled the chores.
    Second only to LeBron - The fans of the Marion Local-Crestview final game helped make it the second-most watched game of the finals.
    The 17,346 was a Division IV finals record and out drew the Division III final between Reading and Sugarcreek Garaway (16,696) and even out drew the Division I final between Moeller and Columbus power Brookhaven (16,246).
    Number one, of course, was the Division II final between Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary and Alter. The attendance count of 18,454, broke the single-game high set the day before in the semifinal game of 18,409.
    Of all 12 games at the Schott. Saturday's Marion-Crestview game ranked fourth overall in attendance.
    History made - As if the Division III game with Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary wasn't enough hype. The game made history.
    Marie Anthony became the first female official to do a boys state championship game in the 81-year history of the tournament.
    Whoops! - The media room at the Schottenstein Center was rearranged this season to allow for easier entry-exit for the players and coaches. The idea was used to try to allow quicker access, especially in the case of LeBron James.
    One concern was getting the players and coaches onto the narrow riser that housed the table and microphones.
    Maybe more space should be added next season after what happened at the end of the Crestview press conference.
    As the Knights' Kory Lichtensteiger tried to leave the table, the 6-4, 295-pound center nearly felled the background wall. Nearby spectators saved the wall from going down.


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