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Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame Inducts 2004 Championship Team and Coach

Team for the Ages and Coach Jerry Scheve Join Buckeye State Basketball Greats

May 19, 2014

Images of Jerry Scheve are projected on the big screen as he is inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.

Images of Jerry Scheve are projected on the big screen as he is inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.

Wilmington College’s team for the ages returned to the spotlight Saturday (May 19) when the 2004 women’s basketball team and its coach, Jerry Scheve, were inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.

Their induction linked them with such Buckeye State immortals of the hardwood as Jerry Lucas, Bobby Knight and Oscar Robertson at a ceremony held before a packed house at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Wilmington brought — by far — the largest contingent to the induction banquet with more than 100 family members, WC faculty, administrators and other supporters of Scheve and his team. Also included in the celebration were 15 of Scheve’s assistant coaches from WC and his prior teams.

“It was a great honor for the team to be recognized by the Hall of Fame,” Scheve said. “It was a really special time for us in 2004 and a special time for us at the induction banquet. I was happy to see so many were able to come back.”

Indeed, some two-dozen players and coaches from the championship team returned for the event.
Amy Kincer, a senior starter, said it took some years for her to fully appreciate the impact of winning the national championship.

“Ten years went by super fast,” she said. “It really makes you value those memories and the people that were in it with you. It’s a great feeling to know you have that — and nobody can take it away.”
Emily Cummins, another senior starter, echoed those sentiments.

(LEFT) FRONT ROW (L-R) Melissa Headley Stork ’07, Tricia Erford Drake ’06, Jenny Andrea ‘05, Emily Cummins ‘04, Samantha Hood Rohrbacher ‘07, Assistant Coach Bill Newland, ballboy Scott Liermann, Head Coach Jerry Scheve, Assistant Coach Scott Reule; MIDDLE ROW — Brittany Morris Overman ‘04, Kara Robinson ‘09, Siobhan Zerilla ‘05, Amy Kincer ‘05, Shawna Thomas ‘06, Chasity Poling ’07; BACK ROW — Alyss Hart ‘07, Assistant Coach John Van Benschoten, Assistant Coach Shari Stauffer ‘03, Nicole Koenig ‘06, Tara Rausch Maine ‘04, Kelly Peters ‘07, Abby Newhouse Hicks ‘08, Erica Smith Fields ‘07, Amy Eichner-McConnaughey ‘07 and Katie Newman ‘07.

“Winning the national championship means more to me now than it did at that moment,” she said. “Then it was new and fresh, but now, 10 years later, the on-going relationships with teammates and the coaching staff make it even more special.”

Another senior, Brittney Morris Overman, injured during the Lady Quakers’ tournament run, was selected to speak on behalf of the team at a Final Four event in Virginia Beach in 2004. Her motivational declaration to the other three teams — “We’re here to beat you” — became part of the team’s legend and lore.

In 2014, the team selected Overman to speak on their behalf at the Hall of Fame induction.

“As we come together today after all the roads we’ve traveled since 2004, we will always remember what brought us here,” she said.

“This team did something nobody could have imagined. It wasn’t an easy road we traveled that season, but we were motivated, we worked hard, we dreamed big and we were able to overcome every obstacle in front of us.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it,” she added. “What we did together, the hard work and the dedication, those are things I carry with me every day of my life.”

Siobhan Zerilla, a starter as a junior, said that team’s tournament run is “a blur, a flash” in her memory.

“I remember a giant pile of people on the court after we won the semifinal,” she said. “Everybody just jumped on each other. We hadn’t even won it all then, but we knew we got there (the championship game) and had a chance to win — we knew we made it.”

And make it they did.

The Lady Quakers, which finished the regular season with a 16-8 mark didn’t look like a team that would be playing well into March. But heroes emerged on a nightly basis as the peaking Wilmington team defeated Capital and Otterbein in the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament and roared through the NCAA Tourney with wins over Albion, Franklin, Thomas More, Puget Sound, Rochester and, in the finals, previously undefeated Bowdoin College.

Scheve often hearkens 2004 when speaking to more recent teams about tenacity, hard work, perseverance and what it would take to elevate their game to a higher level.

“That team could have quit many times through the year, but they really stayed with it and learned how to become champions during the tournament run,” he said.

Scheve was the 2004 National Coach-of-the-Year and his WC teams since 1990 have won an average 19 games a season.

He can’t help but be reminded of the championship season. The banner hangs next to the American flag in Fred Raizk Arena and it’s an obvious point of interest on any tour with recruits.

“You don’t have to win a national championship to be proud of what you’ve accomplished, but it’s a very good feeling to know that you did,” he said. “It was a really special time.”