Editor’s note: This is the final story of a six-part series about the 2015 Crawford County Sports Hall of Fame inductees.
The Buckeye Central girls basketball team that won the Class A State Champions in 1985 are finally being recognized by its home county more than three decades later.
The 1985 Buckettes are among the six inductees of the Crawford County Sports Hall of Fame.
“It’s a great a honor of to be recognized as one of the top sports teams in Crawford County,” said Vainard Spiess, who coached team that year.
The 1985 team roster included assistant coach Chuck Snyder and manager Joanna Norris. Team members were Kelly Forehand, Linda Dye, Diane Kempf, Jenny Kaple, Jill Studer, Traci Kehres, Lisa Crace, Leslie Zucker, Anissa Rhodebeck and Tammi Kehres.
The team’s success traces back three years earlier when Spiess’ team played in the state finals against Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans in 1982.
The Buckettes lost that game 71-51, but many of the athletes that played on the 1985 team watched the game from the stands, Spiess said.
And it was realization for some of them to say, “‘hey, we can do this too’,” he added.
The 1985 team got even with the two-time state champion Rosecrans, defeating them in the state semi-finals 58-49.
The team went on to defeat Tipp City Bethel 48-44.
Spiess’s No. 5 state ranked team managed to hold Class A Player of the Year, Kelly Lyons, to just two points, which was 26 points below her average. The junior managed to foul out with 2:51 to play.
Spiess credited Kehres for her defensive play in denying Lyons the ball. Forehand led the Buckettes with 14 points, while Kehres added 11 and Studer tallied 10.
“There were no superstars on the team,” Spiess said. “[And] the team recognized that.”
But it gave them the advantage to not on rely on anyone particular player.
“They all just chipped in and contributed in their own way,” Spiess said.
The Buckettes finished the season with a 25-1 record; its only lost was to River Valley at 48-41. The Buckettes were the runners-up in the North Central Conference to River Valley. They were also the first team to defeat St. Pete’s Mansfield on its home court.
“This team was not made of any single All-Star player,” said Anissa (Rhodebeck) Tuttle in a statement. “We had very unselfish players. Teams struggled to compete with us because any one of us could score.
“Teams that tried to shut down one player, because they scored most in the last game, would find that someone else was now the threat.”
She credits Spiess’ coaching with winning the championship.
“We had rules and expectations. For example, if we were tardy to school due to being a little tired, Coach assumed we were not in good enough shape. Practice would take care of that,” she said. “We respected and trusted him. He knew what he was doing. He did not let us get pulled into the hype of any one game, before or after.”
Spiess maintained his expectations all the way through winning the state title, she said.
“Even at the State Championship, we slept in our own beds between the Semi-final and Final game,” Tuttle said. “He didn’t want us to lose our focus with any excitement or distraction of a hotel room. No one questioned it, he knew what he was doing.”
The 1985 team made its mark for Crawford County athletics, Spiess said.
Before the Buckettes won its state title, state championship victories were far and few for Crawford County sport teams including Galion’s 1921 Class B State Championship in track.
But after the Buckettes brought home its state title, other schools started making appearances in state championships including the Galion football team, which won the Division II state title in the same year.
“I like to think we got the ball rolling,” Spiess said.
The Crawford County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Induction Banquet will take place at the Trillium Event Center, 1630 E. Southern Ave., in Bucyrus 5 p.m. Saturday.
The other inductees are Bill Durtschi of Galion, David Katterhenrich of Bucyrus, Jack Hewitt of Bucyrus, Chuck Huggins of Colonel Crawford and Natalie Winkelfoos of Bucyrus.
Reach Klein at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.