During a timeout in the closing seconds of Saturday's men's basketball game at Ban Johnson Arena, Marietta College's Trevor Halter got right in fellow senior Kevin Knab's face to fire the Pioneer pivot player up.
At the time, MC and visiting Ohio Northern University were tied at 57-all, and Knab was playing well with a game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds. The 6-foot-6 standout also had four fouls on him.
Last year in similar situations, Halter and Knab both would've been on the floor at crunch time in close games. But in this one, the former, although suited up, was an observer.
"After the OU game (Wednesday), Trevor was really sore," said MC head coach Jon VanderWal after the No. 9-ranked Pioneers dropped a 59-57 decision to the Polar Bears. "He hadn't really been effective in practice the last couple of days. He could only go a little bit. He just didn't have the explosiveness that we want him to have."
Halter played against Ohio University at the Convocation Center on Wednesday, and tallied four points, all from the charity stripe. Prior to that, his first game back since having back surgery in November was at Otterbein on Saturday, Dec. 10, and he had 12 points in an MC win.
The 6-6 Halter was actually projected to start against Ohio Northern, and warmed up with his teammates. But when the starting lineups were announced, he was scratched and remained in his Pioneer sweatshirt - for the entire contest as it turned out.
During the game, Halter was seated about midway down the bench. A few seats further away was 6-5 J.J. Martin, who was also nursing an injury.
"It was kind of a game-time decision," VanderWal said. "Trevor went through warmups, and I asked him how he was feeling, and he said 'not great.' And, he never asked to go in the game."
Starting in Halter's place was 5-11 freshman wing Brennan McKean.
"I just felt like it was the right thing to do with Trevor from his standpoint," VanderWal continued. "You know, we feel we have some really good players. If Trevor's only at 75 percent, there are others guys on the team that should be better than that, right.
"It's not fair to our team to play Trevor at 75 percent when the other guys are 100 percent. And, it's not fair to Trevor, because he needs to get healed up."
Knab agreed and added, "Trevor's still really sore. It's a process for him getting back in and working himself back in the lineup."
If Halter's back had been 100 percent, he of course would have joined Knab and his Pioneer teammates on the floor and been a part of the finish against Ohio Northern. As it was, though, he had to watch from the pine as the Polar Bears converted two freebies with three seconds left to win the game.
Marietta is scheduled to play at OAC leader Wilmington College at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Will Halter be available for duty?
Since Saturday, Halter's had three more days of recovery, and that should help. But....
"You know, right now, we have to do with what we have," Knab said. "We need to have guys step up, hit some shots and not turn the ball over as a team."
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org