Chris Hart and Kendel Peck are as unlikely a coaching combo as it gets. The ultimate yin and yang of area girls high school basketball, theirs is a unique bond that has resulted in an unprecedented run at Alter.
“We do at times scream at each other during a game, but as soon as we walk off the floor it’s over,” conceded Hart, who’s co-coached the Knights with Peck for at least last 15 seasons, she guessed.
“We’re almost like brother and sister in that sense, except we don’t keep fighting. It is unusual but I’m glad it’s worked well. It’s been great for our program and great for our kids that have come through here.”
Proof of that is Alter’s record-setting run. In the last four seasons Alter has mounted an incredible 113-5 combined record. That has produced two Division II state championships, a state runner-up and a 36-game win streak.
The Knights are shooting for their third straight state title this week. Alter (26-2) meets Ottawa Glandorf (27-0) at 1 p.m. Thursday in the D-II state semifinals at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center. Last season Alter grilled Glandorf in the D-II state final, 74-48.
No Dayton-area girls team has been to four straight state final fours until now. That includes the great Beavercreek (Alison Bales) and Chaminade Julienne (Tamika Williams) teams. Both those programs came close, playing in Columbus three successive years.
Hart is anchored on the bench during games and processes insight from assistants Travis Martin and Rochelle Meinking. She relays that info to Peck, who’s always animated, loud and in charge, at least on the court.
“He’s a little bit animated,” Hart said of Peck during a state-wide media conference call on Monday. “It would be really difficult for him to sit on the bench. Over the years, it’s much easier for everyone involved if he’s the one who stands and I’m the one who sits with a cooler head, in a sense.”
The Alter staff also extends itself in scouting opponents. Hart calls it over-scouting. “We probably over-scout and we make fun of each other for how much we over-scout,” she said. “We take that as a security blanket and we believe it helps our kids in the long run.”
Alter should be favored to repeat, especially with its backcourt of Libby Bazelak and Braxtin Miller. Seniors, they both are four-year starters and were the co-Southwest District D-II players of the year. Bazelak has signed with Duquesne and Miller with Oklahoma State.
Glandorf, a Western Buckeye League rep, was the D-II state poll champ and Alter No. 2.
Versailles (D-III) and Jackson Center (D-IV) play in state semis on Friday. All the state semi winners advance to Saturday’s state finals.
• The boys regional tournaments are this week throughout the state. Locally, Divisions II, III and IV will be held at Fairmont’s Trent Arena. D-I, previously anchored at Xavier’s Cintas Center in Cincinnati, will be held at Wright State’s Nutter Center.
The D-IV boys are up first. Today’s games at Trent are Fort Loramie (21-5) vs. Lima Perry (23-3) at 5:30 p.m. followed by Tri-Village (19-7) vs. Cincinnati Christian (21-5) at 8 p.m.
Loramie hasn’t advanced out of the regional since winning a D-IV state title in 1993, its third of three. Tri-Village and Cincinnati Christian are somewhat deceptive in their regional appearances.
Tri-Village lost all five games following multiple suspensions because of an early season hazing incident. The Patriots have won four straight games since falling 37-32 at Fort Loramie in a regular-season finale. With its full team in place Tri-Village also lost only to Versailles at Flyin’ to the Hoop and Bethel.
Cincinnati Christian is located in Fairfield.
The D-I boys regional semis are Wednesday at WSU and D-III on Wednesday at Trent. The D-II boys semis are Thursday at Trent.