Misiak wins 700th as Gators pound Pioneers
History was made on Friday night at Geibel as head coach Ken Misiak guided his Gators to a 94-54 Section 2-A victory over West Greene.
The win was the 700th in Misiak’s career and he joins North Catholic’s Don Graham (801), Forest City’s Julius Prezelski (757) and Northwest High School’s Eddie Gayeski (747) as the only other high school coaches in the state to reach the 700-win plateau.
As the seconds ticked away in the lopsided win over the Pioneers, Misiak couldn’t help but let his mind wonder as he thought about all the good fortune he has had in his 42 years as head coach of the Gators.
“I thought about some of the things that I have been lucky enough to have,” Misiak said. “This school has stuck by me and has given me a chance all these years. I have had an assistant coach (Bob Fedorko) that I have been fortunate enough to work with for 40 years. The players that I have had have been a blessing and I have a wife and daughter who are just as crazy about the game as I am.”
Misiak, never one to have the spotlight shine on himself, pointed out that the win was more important to the kids in terms of their position in the section rather than what it meant to him personally.
The Gators needed the victory to stay one-half game behind Carmichaels in the race for the top spot in the section. Geibel does have a section game in hand on the Mikes.
But despite down playing his own accomplishment, Misiak acknowledged that the milestone was brought up in a team meeting prior to the game.
“I didn’t mention it to the kids until tonight,” Misiak said. “I couldn’t hide it any longer. We talked about everybody taking part in it and when they grow older, they’ll have a happy memory.”
The game went perfectly for the Gators as everybody on the team got playing time.
The Gators came out on fire as they jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the opening minutes and never looked back. Kellen Holmes had the hot hand as he drained four 3-pointers in the first quarter and finished with a game-high 31. Rob Ramsey also turned in a solid effort as he tossed in 17.
Geibel led 32-12 after one, and despite using their bench in the second quarter, still managed to increase the lead to 49-26 at the half. Jordan Whetzel fired in six points in the second quarter and finished with eight.
In the third, Ramsey and Holmes continued their hot shooting and Mario Fragello knocked down a 3-pointer as part of a nine-point night. Both teams went on a scoring frenzy in the third and Geibel outscored the visitors 38-17.
The fourth quarter featured three 3-pointers by West Greene’s Travis Isminger. Isminger and Jake Kerch each tallied 17 points for the Pioneers while Travis Denman finished with 15.
“They handled us pretty well,” West Greene coach Ryan Crouse said. “But we have young kids and I was surprised at how relaxed they were. That is the most points we have scored in a game offensively this year. But defensively, we gave up over 90 points, so something is wrong there. Still, we’re playing hard and I can’t ask for anything more.”
The Pioneers (0-10, 0-19) are still searching for their first victory on the season.
When this one was finished, players and coaches gathered around Misiak at mid-court as the long-time coach accepted a plaque recognizing his outstanding achievement.
“I’m just glad it’s over,” Misiak said.
But for the Gators (9-1, 15-3), the season is far from over as they prepare to battle Washington in a non-section game on Monday in what should be a fine tune-up for the upcoming WPIAL playoffs.