“It feels good, but it’s not all about being in the stat sheet, it’s just about winning games,” the area’s leading rebounder at 11.4 per game said. “We play as a team, if I need to score, I score. If I need to do other things, I just play the role on any given night that I need to play.”
Tallbacka’s team came out of the game firing on all cylinders in front of a packed and enthusiastic home crowd as he saw his Spartans drop 40 points in the first half.
But, in the second half, shots weren’t falling as frequently and the Warriors made Conneaut pay at the charity stripe.
“They shot 30 free throws to our 16 so apparently they were more aggressive than us,” he said. “They had two baskets in the whole fourth quarter, but they made 13 free throws in the fourth quarter. Normally you hold a team to two baskets in the fourth quarter you’re going to be successful.
“But I’m proud of my guys, they played hard.”
The win caps a big week for Bowler’s group, which also beat Riverside on Tuesday, giving the Warriors (13-6) 13 wins heading into Sunday’s Division II sectional tournament draw.
But that’s the big picture, in the moment, Bowler said Friday night was why he coaches high school basketball.
“This is what it’s all about,” he said. “I told the kids, even at halftime, this is what high school basketball is all about. After the game, I told them this is what I came out of retirement for. I had so much fun tonight and it’s such a blast, win or lose. I’m not just saying that because we won. The crowd’s there, both sides going back and forth, the kids are emotional and everything.
“And I’ll tell you what, Conneaut played hard. Tim Tallbacka had those guys ready to play hard. I’m not looking forward to it if I have to play them in the tournament because they’re playing good right now.”