Hatch captures 400th win
By Dan Tomlin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Win No. 400 ended very fittingly.
In a very "Jay Hatch" fashion. There was no fanfare, no announcement was made over the PA system and seemingly no one in the crowd was aware they were seeing a milestone.
It was another win. Another step closer to a conference championship, and there was work to do.
No, don't expect Alleman's girls' basketball coach to toot his own horn or brag about an accomplishment. In his 19th year as the head coach of the Pioneers, Hatch has these Pioneers tied atop the Western Big 6 Conference standings after a 54-34 win over Quincy.
Does No. 400 mean anything?
"Maybe someday, but not tonight," Hatch said. "We did what we had to do to win. We weren't flawless by any means, but we got the job done."
And it's the quest for flawlessness that drives Hatch. His 400 career basketball wins are against just 205 losses.
"Coach Hatch is one of the most focused, dedicated coaches I've been around," Alleman athletic director Steve Smithers said. "All of the things he puts into it behind the scenes that no one sees are why they have success on the court."
Instead of celebrating a career that spans 20 years, including a year at his alma mater West Des Moines Valley, Hatch will be breaking down game tape, statting the game and including it in his "official" stats. He gives the girls a composite record book at the end of every season.
Along with the business-like approach by Hatch and his team, another trademark is his ability to use any girl 1-12 on his roster. Thursday night was no different.
Frustrated by the play of his starters, Hatch pulled all five with the Pioneers trailing 17-15 with three minutes to play in the second quarter. After a minute on the floor, the reserves had tied the game, and when the starters came back in, it sparked a 16-0 run spanning into the third that was the difference in the game.
Cierra Davis, the Pioneers' super soph, tallied a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Zoe Kelso scored nine points and pulled down nine rebounds.
"Every kid wants to play, I've never met anyone that tries out for a team to sit on the bench," Hatch said. "We're not going to out-athlete people. We need to get the most we can out of every girl."
His record speaks for itself. In 2004-2005 season, Hatch reached the pinnacle by taking home the state championship that had eluded him on two previous trips to Normal. In the same season, the Pioneers won the State Farm Classic.
Success for Hatch comes through consistency.
"He doesn't waiver on his approach," said Smithers who plans to recognize Hatch on Jan. 5 when the Pioneers host Galesburg.
Which is why Thursday was so fitting. Good win, into the locker room, watch the tape and try to get better.
That's just the Jay Hatch way.