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Excitement in the air

Scott Seitz2 • Mar 21, 2014 at 11:07 PM

The Norwalk Truckers' boys' basketball team has just about everyone excited.

Norwalk, fresh off a 72-64 win over Dayton Thurgood Marshall in Thursday's Division II state semifinal, returns to the Schottenstein Center at 10:30 a.m. Saturday to battle Columbus Bishop Watterson (26-2) for the state championship.

Norwalk Councilman Chris Mushett said he planned to be on the road by 7 a.m. to attend Saturday's game.

"I've got my tickets in hand," he said.

Mushett, who is also the county juvenile and probate court administrator, said employees listened to Thursday's game on the radio at the office.

"It was really a game of spurts," he said. "One team would go ahead and then, almost instantly, the other team would come back and take the lead.

"Fortunately, Norwalk had the last spurt and was able to come away with the win," Mushett said.

Mushett said once the season concludes, it's likely city council will honor the Truckers.

"I'd be for proposing a resolution honoring the Truckers, not only for their accomplishments this year, but for the last several years," Mushett said.

"Whenever you earn your way to the state championship game, you definitely deserve city recognition," he added.

Watterson, the defending Division II state champs, advanced Thursday with a 56-51 win over LeBron James' alma mater, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.

Huron County Commissioner Gary Bauer has been following the Truckers since 1957.

Bauer attended Thursday's game, was in Columbus on commissioner business Friday, and is traveling back down to the Schottenstein Center for today's game.

"I think it's just tremendous," Bauer said about the team's success.

"This town is just so excited," he added. "It was suggested that some people in press row Thursday didn't even know where Norwalk was, so this game literally put Norwalk on the map."

Bauer said the community support in Columbus was amazing.

"And to see uptown Norwalk decorated was nice to see," he said. "It's really a good thing for business."

The commissioners will honor the Truckers with a proclamation within the next couple weeks.

County Commissioner Tom Dunlap said the success of the team has brought the community together.

"I found it particularly exciting yesterday (Thursday) when my granddaughter, who goes to St. Paul, and grandson, who goes to South Central, came home from school and were all excited," he said. "They said they had listened to the game on the radio and they kept saying, 'we won, we won.'

"To learn that at such a young age, to support a local school even if it's not the school you go to, is a very valuable lesson," Dunlap said.

Huron County Auditor Roland Tkach was super-excited Friday.

"This instills pride in the community," Tkach said.

Tkach said the Truckers are a good example of hard work paying off.

"This shows what teamwork can do."

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