Chippewa girls basketball coach Dennis Schrock is two wins shy of 500 in his career.

Schrock is sitting at 498 victories heading into the Hoops for Habits Basketball Tournament this weekend at Our Lady of the Elms.

Chippewa (7-2) will play Ellet at 4:15 p.m. Friday and then the Chipps will play the host Panthers at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Schrock, 63, is a retired teacher and is in his 28th season as a girls head basketball coach. This is his 26th season at Chippewa, and his second season in his second stint at the school. He also guided Jackson for two seasons.

“It is pretty humbling to look back,” Schrock said. “For me to even be the coach for that many games is interesting. To think back about all the great athletes I was able to coach, the assistant coaches that were on my staff and the friendships I have acquired from the players and their parents is special. It signifies that yes, I am old, and it also shows how many lives I have been able to touch. That is really cool to think about.”

Schrock, a 1967 Smithville graduate, once scored 41 points in a Smithies boys basketball game before there was a 3-point line. He went to Bluffton College, competed in track and field and graduated in 1971.

Schrock and his wife of 30 years, Shannon, live in Wadsworth. They have five children: D.J. (27), Ben (26), Cassie (24), Anthony (20) and Leah (18). The older four are Wadsworth graduates and college educated. The youngest is a senior at Wadsworth.

Schrock said he got out of coaching for a few years to watch his children play in high school and college. The itch to get back into coaching returned, and he took over the Chipps program again.

“Since I came back, it has been amazing,” Schrock said. “The support has been great. This truly has been an incredible run.”

Garfield, Rittman, Woodridge, Cleveland St. Martin de Porres and Bedford St. Peter Chanel are also scheduled to play in the Elms event.

Emotional loss

It is not often that boys basketball players are noticeably emotional just four games into the season.

Such was the case Friday night when several Buchtel players emerged from their locker room teary-eyed after a gut-wrenching 73-72 overtime loss to visiting Firestone in a City Series game.

“It is good to have them crying and show some emotion,” Buchtel coach Stephen White said. “It means they care, but you can either go two ways — you can improve as a team or you can give up on the season.”

White is counting on the Griffins (3-1, 3-1) to improve and move on. The Falcons (6-1, 5-0) overcame deficits of 12 points at halftime and seven points with one minute and 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

“We had our chance in regulation and we blew it,” White said.

Buchtel’s next game is at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 5 against Cleveland Glenville at a tournament hosted by Garfield Heights.

Firestone closed out 2012 with the victory on the strength of outstanding play by senior forwards Kevin Gladney and Jerome Lane and junior forward Evan Kennerly.

“It’s always nice to win on the road and to beat Buchtel [at Buchtel] is huge,” Firestone coach Dave Milo said. “This is our third win in a row over them and two years in a row we have beat them [at Buchtel]. That is an accomplishment for these kids.”

Firestone opens 2013 with four games in seven nights. The Falcons play at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Perry, host St. Vincent-St. Mary at 7 p.m. on Jan. 4, host Garfield Heights at 8 p.m. Jan. 5 and then host Lakewood St. Edward at 7 p.m. Jan. 8.

Sunshine in Florida

As a sizeable snowstorm hit Ohio on Wednesday, most of the Norton boys basketball team was enjoying sunshine and warm temperatures in Florida.

The Panthers (5-1) are in Orlando, Fla., for the 2012 KSA events Holiday Basketball Tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney World.

“This is the second year we have done it,” Norton coach Rod Swartz said by telephone. “We are making it into a vacation that is about more than just basketball. We want the kids and their families to have fun.”

Swartz said Norton is guaranteed to play three games in the event, which has several eight-team brackets.

Norton plays at 10:30 a.m. Friday against Foxborough High School (Ma.). The Panthers will then play Saturday and Monday. There are schools from Ohio (Bay Village Bay), Georgia, New Jersey, Alabama, Florida and California in Norton’s bracket.

Seniors Tyler Sherman, Matt McGlone, Javonte Smith, Eric Lockhart and Liam Shaffer are solid leaders for Norton.

The Panthers also have a talented junior class that includes Aaron VanBuskirk, Dakota Pratt, Jay Ventura, Justin Blanks, Nick Calhoun and Jeff Schulte.

“Obviously, we want to win and play well down here, too,” Swartz said. “As a team I think it helps our chemistry and gives everyone a chance to bond. The kids see a different side of me that they don’t see as a teacher or coach. They interact with me more as a just another person.”

Norton will be back in Ohio to host Crestwood at 7:30 Jan. 4.

KCS shines

Kingsway Christian School won the championship in the first annual Open Door Christian School Christmas Classic Tournament in Elyria this past weekend.

KCS defeated Christian Community School 72-50 Friday and beat host Open Door Christian 50-31 Saturday. Senior Isaac Steiner and junior Devin Bodager were named to the all-tournament team. Steiner had 31 points, 12 steals, nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks in the two games. Bodager contributed 38 points, 28 rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks.

The Eagles are 4-2 under third-year coach Jeff McClintock heading into their game in Gilead Christian School Holiday Classic Tournament today against Columbus Whetstone.

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or mbeaven@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the high school blog at https://ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.