Pandora, Gilboa residents thrilled for Rockets’ first time at state


Only three wins as freshmen, Pandora-Gilboa on brink of title

By Bryan Reynolds - breynolds@limanews.com



Rockets State Bound signs decorate the Pandora-Gilbora School as the basketball team heads to the state tournament in Columbus.

Rockets State Bound signs decorate the Pandora-Gilbora School as the basketball team heads to the state tournament in Columbus.


Craig J. Orosz | The Lima News

During lunch, Zach Weber, athletic director at Pandora-Gilbora School sells tickets to students for the state basketball tournament in Columbus.

During lunch, Zach Weber, athletic director at Pandora-Gilbora School sells tickets to students for the state basketball tournament in Columbus.


Craig J. Orosz | The Lima News

STATE FINAL FOUR

Division IV

Boys’ Basketball

Pandora-Gilboa (26-1) vs Marion Local (23-4), 2 p.m. Thursday

Berlin Hiland (23-5) vs Willoughby Cornerstone Christian (20-7), 10:45 a.m. Thursday

Winners play for state title at 10:45 a.m Saturday

PANDORA — Pandora-Gilboa no longer can be called the only school in Putnam County to never send an athletic team to the state championship. To say that has their fans ecstatic would be an understatement.

It’s been bedlam in the southeastern part of the county since the Rockets beat Crestview 70-58 in the regional finals Friday. The team will take a 26-1 record into Thursday’s 2 p.m. state semifinal game against Marion Local (23-4) at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.

Fireworks. Police escorts. Special meals. Waiting in line for tickets. A mayoral proclamation.

It’s been a frenzy.

Carol Williams, of Pandora, said the welcome the boys received when they returned home after the regional game was amazing.

“The police and fire departments from Pandora and Gilboa met us at [U.S. Route] 224,” she said. “They escorted the team through both towns.”

Stinky’s Country Well set off fireworks while the team passed through Gilboa. Pandora residents covered the light poles in toilet paper when the team passed through town, Williams said.

“The thing is, it’s good for the town,” said Nathan Sprunger, owner of Sprunger Insurance in Pandora. “We had two after games meals at the community center. We’ve been watching them play since they were little.”

Sprunger said the team started out in peewee together, played in junior high together and moved up to high school. Their freshman year, they only won three games all season and now they’re going to state, he said. While there have been injuries and changes over the years, it’s still basically the same team, he said. The injuries have been severe over the years too, causing some players to miss entire seasons of basketball while they healed, Sprunger said.

“This team has faced a lot of adversity,” he said. “But they stuck with it.”

Gina Schlumbohm said high school teams getting to play in state championship games bring small towns like Gilboa and Pandora closer together with the consolidated schools. People who normally wouldn’t meet or interact with one another do through a common investment in the local high school athletic teams, she said.

“It’s really exciting they’re going,” Schlumbohm said. “I’m proud of the team, they were able to get this far.”

Mayor John Schlumbohm signed a proclamation declaring this week as P-G Rockets Spirit Week, he said. It’s something he has done before for individuals making it to state championships in track and field and other athletic events like those but this is the first time he’s ever done it for a team. Though the proclamation has no real legal binding it’s something he likes to do to excite the community more, he said.

“I think it’s fantastic,” John Schlumbohm said. “I’m excited about going down to watch them. Good luck, Rockets.”

Rockets State Bound signs decorate the Pandora-Gilbora School as the basketball team heads to the state tournament in Columbus.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2018/03/web1_State-bound_01co.jpgRockets State Bound signs decorate the Pandora-Gilbora School as the basketball team heads to the state tournament in Columbus. Craig J. Orosz | The Lima News
During lunch, Zach Weber, athletic director at Pandora-Gilbora School sells tickets to students for the state basketball tournament in Columbus.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2018/03/web1_Ticket-sales-for-State_01co.jpgDuring lunch, Zach Weber, athletic director at Pandora-Gilbora School sells tickets to students for the state basketball tournament in Columbus. Craig J. Orosz | The Lima News
Only three wins as freshmen, Pandora-Gilboa on brink of title

By Bryan Reynolds

breynolds@limanews.com

STATE FINAL FOUR

Division IV

Boys’ Basketball

Pandora-Gilboa (26-1) vs Marion Local (23-4), 2 p.m. Thursday

Berlin Hiland (23-5) vs Willoughby Cornerstone Christian (20-7), 10:45 a.m. Thursday

Winners play for state title at 10:45 a.m Saturday

Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362.

Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362.

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