By Marc Tobias
Barring Lima Senior having one of the best defensive performances in Ohio basketball state tournament history, Celina’s Tim Homan will become the Bulldogs all-time leading scorer during tonight’s District Semifinal game against the Spartans.
Homan needs just three points to give him 1,128 career points to move into the top spot held by Jay VanderHorst with 1,127 points.
“Getting to that mark was a little more far off than 1,000 points, but it was a goal,” said Homan, who’s averaging 20.5 points per contest this season. “Only two guys in Celina history have ever made 1,000 points and those other guys are in the (Celina) Hall of Fame, so for me to be up in front of those guys is pretty cool.”
Mike Reichert was the only other Bulldog to reach the 1,000-point plateau when he scored 1,087 points between 1977 and 1979.
Reichert, 43, was the all-time career scoring leader for one year until his teammate of three years in VanderHorst, 42, came by and broke it a year later in 1980.
Now after almost 25 years the record will be switching hands once again.
“When I was right out of college and still living around Celina and I’d go to the Fieldhouse every Friday and Saturday night, it was kind of cool to look at the program and see your name there,” VanderHorst said. “But I’ve been away for around 15 years now, so it’s kind of an out of sight out of mind thing, but I’m proud of the record and quite frankly I’m surprised that it lasted this long.”
VanderHorst went on to play college basketball at Division III Oglethorp University in Atlanta where he scored over 1,000 points. He now resides in Milford, Mich.
“Do I want to hold on to it? I don’t know, I think it’s time,” VanderHorst continued. “The game of basketball has changed with the three-point shot. I think alot of us old timers look back and would have liked to play with that rule in effect.”
The installation of the three-point line wasn’t adopted until the 1987-1988 season, roughly seven years after both players had graduated.
The three-point line surely would have added a few more points to VanderHorst’s career, but Reichert was a strong inside post presence and it most likely wouldn’t have had a major impact on his point total.
Homan has made a school record 109 three-pointers thus far in his career, but VanderHorst did have one advantage over the current Celina star, as he played four year’s of varsity ball compared to just three for Homan.
“I got to see all of those guys play, their good kids they work hard at their games and it was fun to watch,” said Celina coach Mike Kanney, who was coaching at the seventh and eighth grade level when VanderHorst and Reichert were playing.
“Their different players, Reichert was a post man who was very good on the interior, and VanderHorst was more of a point guard who could shoot the perimeter shot,” Kanney said. “Tim’s kind of a combination of inside and outside, he’s more of a forward off guard type player.”
What makes Homan’s accomplishments so special are the way that he’s done it compared to past Celina players. Homan’s career statistics through his last game against Anthony Wayne place him first all-time in school history in field goal percentage at 62 percent (229-for-369), second in free throw percentage at 80.3 percent (208-for-259) and sixth in three-point field goal percentage at 43 percent (109-for-253).
Kanney said he recognized that Homan was going to be a big time scorer during the Holliday Shootout his sophomore year when the īDogs squared off with Columbus East, from that point on the Bulldogs coach said he knew he had a special player.
“I’ve said a lot of good things about the kid, I don’t know what the heck you could say that’s negative to tell you the truth,” Kanney said. “He’s a silent leader, he leads by example and (getting the record) couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.”
Those codeacteristics could easily describe all three of the Bulldogs who topped the 1,000 point plateau, and helped forge a small bond between them, even though neither Reichert or VanderHorst have yet personally met Homan.
“I think the thing that I’m really proud of in Tim’s career is how he’s handled himself. There’s pride in wearing that Celina uniform,” VanderHorst said. “I don’t know if any of us are into that hot dog, show boating, me before the team type attitude. I’m not a fan of that at all. The coaches that we had when I played certainly didn’t cater to that and that’s how I understand Tim plays the game. It doesn’t surprise me because I know Mike Kanney real well and Jay Imwalle and I have a lot of respect for those guys and I’m just proud the way Tim’s handled himself.”
VanderHorst added he hopes to meet Homan when his basketball career moves to the collegiate level.
“I’m living up in Michigan now, and I understand he’s going to Hillsdale who plays in a great conference, and I’ll probably slip over on a Saturday afternoon since I missed him in high school and check him out in college.”
Reichert and VanderHorst were quick to credit former coaches and players for their success, much like Homan has during the course of his career.
“First of all Vandy and I were really good friends in high school, as far as playing together we were fortunate to play under a coach who I thought was a fantastic high school coach in George Hill,” Reichert said. “Then we had a great supporting cast of guys that we played with, and putting those things together with our God given abilities we were able to put some points on the board.”
Despite the all those points coming from two guys on the same team, the duo agreed that the amount of shots that each took was never an issue.
“It was never even brought up,” Reichert said. “Jay and I scored a fair amount of points, but if you go and look at some of our box scores we weren’t lighting it up. We weren’t a run and gun type of offense, a lot of our games were say 50-30 or 60-40, we shut people down, our defense was probably our forte. Sure we could score, but we were patient on offense and looked for good shots.”
Kanney said he thinks Celina fans will remember Homan for those same type of unselfish codeacteristics.
“I would think fans would have to think of how much of an impact player he was for this team and what he did for the Celina basketball program,” Kanney said. “It’s not like we set him up every time down, he’s also able to do what it takes to help us win whether its good passes or making steals. I think he’s very unselfish, I think they’ll remember that about him and the fact that he is such a silent leader. He just goes out there and get’s it done. I think that’s what will probably stand out the most about him, he’s so humble.”
Kanney added, “I don’t think we’ve ever had a player that the young kids kind of gravitate towards, they all want to talk to him and he takes the time to do it. He’s kind of a special guy in that way.”
With the biggest individual achievement coming in possibly the biggest game of his career, Kanney said he believes there’s only one thing on Homan’s mind.
“I tell you he’s a great kid, but I guarantee if Tim Homan knew he could get one point in this game or no points in this game and we still win he’d be ok with that,” Kanney said. “He’s a team player and I don’t think that’s going to be a concern of his going into this game. I know a lot people are talking about it, and if it happens it happens. I’m sure Tim would give up all three of those (points) if it meant we were going to beat Lima Senior.”
VanderHorst held a similar opinion about his career achievements.
“When I look back I don’t see that record as the highlight of my career, but I think more of the guys I played with,” VanderHorst said. “Record or no record when I do make it back to the Field House I just hope people think of me in a positive way and have some great memories of my high school career.”
Homan too hopes someday that he’ll be able to see another young Bulldog break his mark. Although he quipped he wouldn’t mind seeing it stand for 20 years as well.
“I think if I had the record 20 years like he did I think I’d be happy to see some other kid break it,” Homan said. “I’d like someone to break it in my lifetime though, which I’m sure someone will.”