It was a shower 16 years in the making.
Hauser boys basketball assistant coach Griff Roth had to step up Tuesday to replace head coach Bob Nobbe, who missed the game due to a medical issue.
It was the first time in Roth’s 16-year coaching career at Hauser that he had to call the shots for the varsity.
The Jets were well aware of the situation. When they put the finishing touches on a 67-59 victory over visiting Milan, they hurried back to their locker room and waited for Roth to arrive.
Upon walking through the door, Roth was blasted with the spray of water from multiple sources.
“Absolutely, I am just doing this for one game,” Roth said after toweling off. “We just did what Coach Nobbe wanted us to do. I didn’t change anything.”
Roth said he didn’t think Nobbe ever had missed a varsity game in his 18 years as head coach.
“It was strange,” Roth admitted. “I’m used to being there beside him.
“We’ve got some great kids, and they knew that was my first one.”
It wasn’t easy. Milan, a 2A team, fell to 12-5 with the loss. Hauser, which trailed by six early in the third quarter, raised its record to 9-8 off its third consecutive victory.
The Jets appeared to be taking care of business in the opening half when they assumed a 24-14 lead only to cough up much of their advantage with unforced turnovers.
Milan finished the second quarter with a 12-2 run for a 34-31 lead at intermission.
But the Jets’ defense started to tighten at the midway point of the third quarter and Milan started to be the team throwing the ball away.
Trey Shipley (15 points) and Mason Ramsey (a team-leading 20 points) hit back-to-back 3s for Hauser with two minutes remaining in the third quarter and Quindon Shipley added a jumper to complete an 8-0 run.
Hauser took a 50-47 lead into the final quarter.
At the 6:16 mark, Milan’s Logan Karsteter (14 points) tied the score at 51-51 with an inside basket, but it was all Hauser from there.
Ramsey had eight points in the quarter, including six free throws.
He seemed to score most of his points in spurts, with six points in the first 90 seconds of the second quarter.
“I would admit that I am,” Ramsey said about being streaky. “I just need to gain focus.”
Just as he needs to have longer stretches of focus, Ramsey said his team needs to be more focused for longer stretches when it comes to turnovers.
“We have to get everyone under control,” he said. “We have to make sure 100 percent that the pass is going to get through. We throw some lazy passes, and we need to be smarter.”
In the fourth quarter, Hauser tightened its game.
“We stayed calm and worked the ball around,” Ramsey said. “We had to work the ball inside because the 3-ball wasn’t there.”
Hauser sealed the deal with a beautiful possession that resulted in senior center Ryan Christy (11 points) going hard to the basket for a lay-up. With just over a minute remaining, Hauser had a 67-56 lead.
Zach Gearhart had 16 points for Hauser. Cooper Wade led Milan with 16 points.
Roth said the Jets’ defense had a lot to do with their advantage in the final quarter. “Our defense really stepped it up,” he said.
But he also noted that Hauser must stop throwing the ball away if it wants to keep its late-season roll going.
“That’s been a problem all year,” Roth said of turnovers. “But the guys are getting better at eliminating them.”
The Jets probably will be trying to eliminate them with Nobbe back in charge, but Roth was happy to have his moment.
“It was a lot of fun being with these kids,” Roth said. “I enjoyed it.”