Emotional end for OHS boys seniors

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

The toughest part every year for players and coaches is the finality of the season.

For the seniors, is signals the end of their high school careers. It was an emotional moment Saturday for the three Ottawa High School boys basketball seniors after the 48-41 loss to Paola in sub-state.

Ottawa High School’s Jose Richards was one of three Cyclone seniors that ended their prep basketball careers Saturday in the sub-state loss to Paola.

“The three seniors played their butts off,” Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said. ‘They were not ready for it to be over. It is tough.”

Brady Beets, Jose Richards and Tucker Baldwin hung up their Cyclone uniforms for the final time.

McCullough said those three seniors had a somewhat different journey through the program.

“These seniors played behind a really good group of basketball players,” he said. ‘They got one time to shine. That is hard, especially with the expectations and history of this basketball program. They did not have time to think. They were thrown into this. You bring kids up through the program. Those relationships are tight. It hurts.”

McCullough has seen the players progress since they were little kids.

“We had them in camp,” the coach said. “Tucker I have known his entire life. It is not just having these little kids in camp, it is personal. That is why it is emotional when this day comes.”

Ottawa (8-12) did not go down without a fight.

“We could not overcome some of the things that has been happening to us all year long,” McCullough said. “They went out scratching and clawing. That is who we are. We came up short. It is hard to beat a rival team three times. It comes down to that one or two possessions. It is such a fine line in these rival games. We were on the wrong end of it.”