March 19, 2024 at 3:15 p.m.

Historic run was a nice problem



Editor’s note: This column is being reprinted from March 22, 2006. To be fair, I’ll probably reprint it again in two years, on the 20th anniversary of the Jay County Patriots making the Class 3A state finals. Still, it seemed appropriate with The Graphic Printing Company now preparing for covering the boys basketball state finals after expanding our reach into Delaware County and picking up the Wapahani Raiders.

By JACK RONALD

The Commercial Review

All of us are in uncharted territory now.

That’s true for Jay County High School, for the boys basketball team, for the students, for the coaching staff, for the parents, and for the community at large.

It’s also true for the daily newspaper.

While individual athletes from Jay County have won state titles and while basketball teams from Fort Recovery High School have won statewide championships in Ohio, we’ve never been faced with the challenge of covering a high school boys basketball state championship involving a Jay County team.

It’s a real nice problem to have.

Friday night about 11:30 p.m., working with an early deadline for the Saturday morning paper, I asked sports editor Ray Cooney what he had planned for the week ahead if the Patriots won. He’d already pulled out all the stops, and we wanted to keep the coverage at the same level of intensity.

Again, it’s a real nice problem to have.

Last Saturday found the staff stretched pretty thin. Managing editor Mike Snyder went to Indy to cover Hannah Williams in the state gymnastics competition, while Ray went to Lafayette to cover the basketball team. Meanwhile, I was working Expo because of the kick-off of two new publications we have on deck for later this year, Xtreme Xpress and Go.

Saturday afternoon, listening to the radio broadcast from WPGW, I was seized with a bit of media envy. I knew our coverage would be great and the photos would be priceless, but Monday afternoon’s press time looked like it was a long way away.

I needn’t have worried.

On Sunday morning, while I was still lingering over my coffee, Carl Ronald called from the office. He was obviously more awake than I was, and ideas were tumbling out about how we could do something special for the team and have it available for Expo.

It took me a second or two to click into gear, though I’d already written a Monday editorial and e-mailed it from my home computer to the office. But I had to admit Carl’s idea made sense.

Within an hour, he and Ray and I were in our commercial printing department, debating design options for a one-page, full-color “extra” of The Commercial Review to be handed out free at Expo. It featured a team picture, and if you have a copy, hang onto it. We only produced a limited edition of one thousand.

With that on track, Ray and I met for about an hour, kicking around strategies for this week’s coverage. Ray and Mike got together that afternoon for a similar conversation, while I returned to my duties at Expo.

By Monday morning, plans had pretty much coalesced. A series of stories and story ideas had been sketched out, and assignments had been divvied up.

For Saturday, plans call for four of us to be involved in coverage of the big event at Conseco. Ray and I will be at the press table. Mike will be at one end of the court with a camera. Our friend Clint Anderson, editor of The Berne Tri-Weekly, will be helping us out with a camera at the other end.

Ray, of course, will write the game story and probably a column. I’ll focus on a color story, trying to capture the moment, both on and off the court.

Right now, that’s the plan. But we are, after all, in uncharted territory.

It is, indeed, a real nice problem to have.

PORTLAND WEATHER

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