You’ve got to love competitive sports for the lessons it teaches us, in particular, young basketball players, that tooth and nails are forever nipping at our heels. On the court or off, it’s eat or be eaten, so you also learn that if you’re going to be eaten, there is strength in numbers and loyalty and you won’t go down without a fight. The Bearcats got a tough draw with Trinity going into the Sectional playoffs—they knew this going into the game, yet, when a team has nothing to lose as an underdog, they give it all you have, darn the torpedoes! When the dust settles, you pick up your stuff and get on with the next adventure, win or lose.

Trinity had a height advantage and a deeper bench, but Hermann played with heart as evidenced by creating 25 turnovers, but also fouled more than usual (20). They jostled for their near-average 26 rebounds, but the game is won in the net and Hermann couldn’t get there often enough to compete at a level they would have liked. They were 11 for 36 (30 percent) for the night, with Trent Anderson scoring 13 of the Bearcats 32 accumulated points. Chet Moeckli followed with 9, all 3-pointers. Rhet Scheidegger and Chase McKague both hit a 3-pointer apiece, but it was crickets around and in the paint. The team was 6-23 (26 percent) on two-point conversions, so the outcome wasn’t going to look pretty.

Head Coach Josh Vinyard said, “We got a tough draw and came up against a really good team.”  “I feel that they are one of the top 3 teams in the state regardless of class size. We held their seven-footer to eight points, through a combination of Trent Anderson doing a great job being physical and getting him off of the block and from everyone else digging and getting him to kick the ball out of the post.”  

So, the Bearcats picked up their stuff and came home, but they nor anybody associated with the program had reason to hang their heads. This team gave us an exciting season, but Coach Vinyard said they did much more than that.

“Our seniors have a lot to be proud of and that game (Trinity) is not a measure of the great season that they had,” said the coach. “We won two tournament championships and a district championship. And they won 22 games. Our seniors laid the foundation for us to have a championship level program. It is something that we can reference to in the future, which means that their legacy will hopefully last well beyond the four years they wore our Bearcat uniform.”

So seniors Sam Holland, Chet Moeckli, Andrew Schannuth and Rhet Scheidegger leave some big shoes to fill.

Coach Vinyard said the underclassmen got to see what the “next level” looks like and he hope it leads to motivation for hard work in the off-season—i.e. lifting weights and building on playing skills. He’s noting season-to-season improvements and already formulating strategies based on what he learned this year.

“Our press defense, which we used a lot earlier in the season, and noticeably less as we played our conference and playoff schedule, was really good for us,” he said.  “We still have some teaching to do to get that to another level so we can run it against anyone on our schedule; but we laid the right ground work for that to happen. Offensively, or scoring average per game was up 16 points from the previous year.  I hope we can increase that by 8 or so points for next year.”

Coach Vinyard ends his successful season on a personal note.

“I want to thank all of our students and community members who have supported us this year. And I would like to thank Gary Ash and Jake Witthaus for the great job they did as my assistants.  A great deal of credit should be given to them, both in their ability to coach and their work ethic.

So the Hermann Bearcats close out their year with life-long lessons and the players leave their parents, friends and fans with many good memories to share in the years to come. High school basketball doesn’t get any better than this.

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