With heavy hearts, Tigers roll past Wildcats
HOLLIDAYSBURG — Wednesday night’s game at the Hollidaysburg Area High School gymnasium was different for Golden Tiger basketball coach Brad Lear.
It marked the first time he coached on the Tigers’ home floor following the passing of a guy he called his best friend, his father, Bob.
“My dad built some close relationships with (former Golden Tiger Jake) Holsopple,” Lear said, “and I think (Jake’s brother) Josh carried on that tradition of being the type of kid that would always come over and include my dad and make him feel part of the coaching staff. And I tried to include my dad, allowing him to sit near or on the bench a lot.
“He loved talking to the kids because he was a coach his whole life as well.”
It what was Lear’s second game on the sideline since his father passed away on Jan. 15, but this was the first win since then as his Tigers pulled away in the third quarter for an 83-51 victory over Central Mountain.
“It’s not the same not seeing him out there,” Lear said.
Bob Lear was 77.
Brad’s first game back with the team was this past Friday at Richland. Getting through the night wasn’t just tough on him.
“The National Anthem was extremely difficult to get through because usually he’s beside me or behind me,” he said. “It was very emotional. My whole family was there, so it was very emotional for them as well.
“We’ve tried to move on as best as we can, but he will always be a part of the team, and a part of the sideline.”
Lear — a native of Armagh and graduate of United High School — and his family lived in Virginia before health problems not only affected his dad, but also his mom, Janet. He is thankful that his kids have the chance to know his parents the way that he has.
“For them to see how I became the man I was, it was 100 percent due to the way my mom and dad raised me, and to get them to see that, and to get them to see that, and say ‘see, that’s why I do what I do for you’ because that’s how it was for me.”
While his dad may have wanted him to coach against Williamsport on Jan. 15, Lear said he felt he needed to be there for his family that day.
“I felt like I needed to be home with my mom,” Lear said. “I know my mom greatly appreciated that. Having a mom and a dad with the relationship that we had growing up, and as supportive as they are of me right now, allows me to coach the way that I do, and I owe the success we have to them.”
Lear will miss his dad’s honesty and encouragement.
“When we would leave after a loss, I always called him,” Lear said. “I knew he would be on the way home, and I knew he would have the real truth. I called him knowing that was going to happen.”
Mitchell Kratzer led the Golden Tiger offense Wednesday with 23 points — scoring 11 of them in the third quarter alone, one play coming off of a feed from Jaden Delerme for a bucket. That powered Hollidaysburg to a 25-6 outburst in that third quarter.
“He’s really been working on his shot, shooting over 150 3-balls every night if we can. It paid off for him tonight,” Lear said.
The Golden Tigers are off for almost a week before traveling to Mifflin County on Tuesday.
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN (51): Adroja 0 0-0 0, Adair 1 2-4 4, Baker 2 0-2 5, Soo 8 2-2 21, Long 1 6-6 8, Hanna 4 1-1 10, A. Probst 0 1-2 1, Pentz 1 0-0 2, Weaver 0 0-0 0, Gerlach 0 0-0 0. Totals — 17 12-17 51.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (83): Delerme 4 2-2 11, Holsopple 4 0-1 8, McGinnis 3 2-2 9, M. Kratzer 9 3-4 23, Gildea 5 0-1 13, Stevenson 1 0-0 3, Yeager 6 1-1 13, G. Kratzer 1 0-0 2, Dean 0 1-2 1, Imhoff 0 0-0 0, Wedel 0 0-0 0. Totals — 33 9-13 83.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central Mountain 17 12 6 16 — 51
Hollidaysburg 29 19 25 10 — 83
3-point goals: Central Mountain 5 (Adair, Baker, Soo 2, Hanna); Hollidaysburg 8 (Delerme, McGinnis, Stevenson 2, Gildea 3)
Records: Central Mountain (3-10); Hollidaysburg (12-6).
Referees: Wesley Sinclair, James McGlaughlin, Albert De Torre.
JV: Hollidaysburg, 40-39. High scorers–Ashton Probst, Tyler Weaver, Ryan Pentz, Brett Gerlach, CM, 8; Alan Wedel, H, 12.