COLUMBUS - Robbie Hertzel played for Cincinnati Summit Country Day in the 1979 and 1980 state tournaments.
His son, Holden, was the starting center for Country Day in Thursday's Division III state semifinal at Value City Arena.
Robbie was not there to see it, at least not physically.
Robbie Hertzel died of cancer on Nov. 11, 2011 (11-11-11). The Silver Knights' warmup jerseys have "Robbie" on the back and the number 11.
"There wasn't a second thought about (the warmups)," said SCD coach Michael Bradley. "We wanted to show a sign of solidarity for the family. This season we played for him. There is not a doubt in my mind that he was looking over us today."
The Knights (25-1) advanced to Saturday's title game with a 49-41 victory over Bedford Chanel. Robbie's teams lost in the semis in '79 and the finals in '80. Holden has a chance to do something his father never did: win a state title.
"When we got to the regional semifinals I started thinking, 'Dad did all this'," Holden said. "Every day I thought about it as we were getting closer and closer."
Holden, a 6-foot-5 senior, had a big part in the victory over Chanel. He finished with 10 points and five rebounds. He was not a varsity player until his senior season.
"I knew I had some decent skills but was never really in shape," said Holden before being interrupted by Bradley, who added: "He's also honest."
Bradley called Holden "one of the best big guys in Cincinnati."
"I knew we were going to be really good," Holden said. "I thought I could be a little piece of this team. I didn't think I'd have that big of an impact."
NICE RESUME: Bradley is 45-5 in two years as a high school coach. Then again, he's been exposed to some high-level coaching.
Bradley played at Kentucky and Villanova. He was the 17th player chosen in the NBA draft (by Toronto) in 2001. He played for five different NBA teams in six years and then played four seasons in Europe.
GOOD START: It was a good start for the tournament and an awful one for Jackson Center.
The undefeated and top-ranked Tigers fell behind Columbus Africentric 14-2 in Thursday's first game. They trailed by as many as 15 in the second quarter of the D-IV semifinal.
But they were ranked No. 1 for a reason. Much like they did in a district championship game (where they trailed by 12), the Tigers rallied for a 53-50 victory. Freshman Gavin Wildermuth, who had turned the ball over moments earlier, made two foul shots in the waning seconds and Africentric missed two 3-pointers in the final five seconds.
FAMILY AFFAIR: When Berlin Hiland defeated Arlington 47-36 Thursday, it was revenge of sorts for the Hawks - on a team and a family.
A week ago Arlington beat Hiland in the girls D-IV state championship game.
The Red Devils were led by Alivia Recker, Amelia Recker and Anessa Recker. Their brother, Thayne, is the other part of the Recker quadruplets. Thayne scored 14 points Thursday but it wasn't enough to knock out the defending D-IV state champs.
FAMILY AFFAIR II: Today, brothers Tony and Joey Vuyancih will be playing in the state tournament. They won't be playing for the same team.
Joey, a senior, is Mentor Lake Catholic's point guard and leading scorer. The Cougars, who defeated Struthers in the regionals, meet unbeaten Dayton Dunbar in a D-II semifinal. Tony, a sophomore, is the first player off the bench for Lakewood St. Edward, which beat Warren G. Harding in a D-I regional final. The Eagles play Toledo Whitmer.
A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN: Kudos to Associated Press Columbus writer Rusty Miller. In what we vowed will become a frequent event, he showed off his golf skills by easily defeating Tim Rogers (Cleveland Plain Dealer) and myself Wednesday at The Golf Club of Dublin.
Despite repeatedly telling us it was his first time on a course this year, Rusty shot 79 (with four birdies), to beat me by 13 strokes and Tim by 15. I certainly hope he didn't take off work to play because this may get him in trouble. Tim and I won't be quitting our day jobs any time soon.