By Terrance Gavan
Roland Zilla has been around the hard courts coaching up the youngsters for three decades.
He’s been here at Hal High for the last ten.
Lot of time to spend in the intense milieu of the roundball circuit.
This was supposed to be his last season at the old Hawk’s Nest.
If it is his last season, well, let’s just say it did not end on a high note.
Last Thursday afternoon the Hawks’ season and dreams died simultaneously with a 57-37 loss to Holy Cross in the Elite Eight portion of the Kawartha Zone playdowns.
“We had a very poor start and they came out flying,” said Zilla, on Monday evening. “Holy Cross just beat us; we didn’t play well and they played phenomenally.”
Zilla said the poor start was compounded by a series of missed lay-ups early in the contest.
The loss comes on the heels of an otherwise successful 18-12 season record.
Zilla said that the Hawks had to scramble to find practice space while the Hawks gym was being used as the Winterfest 2011 senior winter games.
“That’s not the reason we lost, but it knocked our schedule out of kilter,” said Zilla. He said that they played a little off kilter on Thursday in a game where mistakes were compounded by a well-schooled team who knew how to take advantage of miscues. Zilla said it was a game that will be remembered by its forget-ability. “I didn’t even look at the score sheet after the game, so I honestly can’t remember who our scorers were.
“I know the guys were really upset because we thought we could get to the next level this season. We had a great season and we played a lot of games, got some great help from coaches Dave Waito and Walter Tose. So we ended on a downer, but the season was successful.”
Zilla added that top scorer Luke Watson and Jesse Walker were not playing at 100 percent due to nagging injuries, but he added that the Hawks were simply out-rebounded, out-shot and outplayed.
“Our MVP is Luke Watson, he played great all season long,” said Zilla. “It’s disappointing that we didn’t attain the last level for the four seniors like Luke, Chris Allison, Jesse Walker and Caleb Zilla; they’re the four main guys that carried the team in the end.”
All four have been with Zilla since arriving at Hal High and Zilla just wanted to make sure that they received their due. “They all played their hearts out. It just wasn’t our day last Thursday,” said Zilla.
They all wanted to go to the next level. Luke was playing hurt with an ankle issue and Jesse Walker had an ankle sprain.”
Disappointing ending to a season that players and coaches alike knew could have been better.
Sport is a teacher. It’ll mature any young player that is willing to accept the good with the bad.
And for Zilla?
Is this the final curtain?
“I don’t know,” laughs Zilla. “I’m not saying one way or the other; 30 years of ball is a long time. It takes an incredible amount of time and it does get tiring.”
We’ll take that as a definite maybe.
Email email@example.com and twitter.com/terrancegavan.