By Gary R. Rasberry
FORT WAYNE -- If anything, Tim Homan might have had one of the biggest rooting sections at the Schaefer Center on Saturday night.
A group of around two dozen made the hour trip to see the Celina basketball standout play his final high school basketball game at the 12th Annual Nancy Rehm Ohio-Indiana Border War basketball all-star game on the campus of Indiana Institute of Technology.
The game is named for Rehm, a former Indiana Tech star who was murdered in 1982 after leading the Warriors to a state college championship. Former Coldwater star Joan Wenning Gilliand was a teammate and roommate of Rehm.
Homan played a big part in Ohio's victory as the Buckeye state held off Indiana, 94-92, the second straight win over the Hoosier state.
Homan did not start but played the majority of the second half as Ohio coaches Marc Jump of Southview and Keith Westrick of Marion Local put together a strong scoring team to play the last five minutes of the game as Indiana led late in the contest. The late lineup was a Western Buckeye League all-star gallery as Homan was teamed up with Ottawa-Glandorf's Tim and Eric Pollitz and Defiance's L.J. Helton down the stretch.
"It's a great honor," said Homan as the teams were presented their medals after the game. "There's a lot of great talent and good players up here."
Homan got into the game with 15 minutes left in the first half and made his first two shots to finish the half with five as substitutions were continuous throughout the game.
In the second half, as the game stayed within a couple of points each way, Homan began to see additional playing time. With Indiana leading by two with five minutes left, Homan, the Pollitzs, Helton and Toledo Libbey's Jerome Pierce entered for the rest of the game.
Ohio trailed 92-91 as the clock kept running. After a timeout with 30 seconds left, Tim Pollitz got the ball at the top of the key and drove inside to score with 18 seconds left to give Ohio a one-point lead.
Indiana tried to drive with time winding down but Eric Pollitz got the block and Tim got the rebound and was fouled with 2.6 seconds left. One free throw iced the win for Ohio.
Tim Pollitz led all scorers with 28 points and won the Nancy Rehm Award for Most Valuable Player. Eric Pollitz added 17 with Pierce scoring 23 thanks to seven three-pointers.
"They're good players. It helps out a lot to have them on your team," said Homan. "Tim is an excellent player down low and Eric is an exceptional outside shooter. Definitely a bonus to have them on your team."
Homan's line was strong: 24 minutes played, 5-of-9 from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the three-point arc, three rebounds, one block and one assist for 13 points. In his two postseason all-star games, Homan scored 59 points.
"I just wanted to come out and play my game," said Homan. (At the end) they wanted to keep the shooters in and to get the ball down to Tim (Pollitz) down low.
"It was great. Coach (Westrick) said that it was our last high school game and you want to go out with a win," added Homan.
Westrick had a good time coaching the all-star talent.
"That was fun," said the Flyers' head coach. "It was a pleasure to work with these guys. They sacrificed a lot of time and we had a couple of practices with the miles between them to come here. It's a long day. We kept telling them that this is a competitive game. It was going to be tough and they came out ready to play that way."
The girls game preceded the boys game and the Buckeye State helped make it a clean sweep with a 97-88 win over the Hoosier team. Kate Achter of Oregon Clay won the MVP plaque with a 30-point game, thanks in large part to a 12-of-15 day from the foul line.
Marion Local girls coach Treva Fortkamp was on the sidelines for the Ohio team and she, like Westrick, was very honored to have been selected for job.
"Oh my gosh! It was phenomenal," said Fortkamp. "It was a pleasure to coach some exceptional talent and it's an honor to be selected to be a part of the game. Nancy Rehm was a great athlete and to be able to coach the best from District 7 and 8 against the best from Indiana (which included Indiana's Ms. Basketball Jaclyn Leininger of Warsaw) is a great experience."
Minster's Robyn Hoying was selected to play in the game, but did not play due to injury.