Philosophical novelist George Santayana reportedly said, "those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it."
This is of course the one thing that the underdog Marietta High boys basketball team does not want to occur when it plays defending state champion Chillicothe in an Ohio Division II showdown at 6:15 p.m. Friday at the Ohio University Convocation Center in Athens.
While it may not be healthy to dwell on past contests on the hardwood with the Cavaliers (17-5), the Tigers - who also own a 17-5 overall record after defeating Greenfield McClain 54-36 in a district semi Thursday - certainly can learn and grow from them.
Another certainty is that third-year Marietta head coach J.D. Secrest and his staff are viewing film, and doing their homework.
A year ago, at about this time, CHS routed and ousted MHS, 77-47, in a district semifinal at the Convo.
"Last year, we were kind of tourists and just happy to be there (at the Convo)," said Secrest, who was recently named the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League North Division Coach of the Year.
"We were kind of in awe with everything, and of course Chillicothe's been there before. Chillicothe was on a mission, and they did to us what they did to about everybody they played."
In high school boys basketball competition, some teams are just better than other teams. Chillicothe was such a team in 2007-08. It's as simple as that.
Fast forward to this season.
On Jan. 16, Marietta traveled to Ross County to play the Gary Kellough-coached Cavaliers in an SEOAL regular-season game, and was beaten 65-39.
So what have the Tigers learned?
Well, for openers, while the Chillicothe Cavaliers are obviously a very good team, they're not the Cleveland Cavaliers, and have no player remotely as talented as LeBron James.
Caleb Knights, Seth Dawes, Ron Smith, and Michael Turner are all very good prep hoops players, though.
Even so, Chilly can be beat - this year.
Just ask the Blane Maddox-coached Warren Warriors (12-10). During SEOAL regular-season play back on Jan. 23, Warren hosted and downed the visiting Cavaliers, 54-53, in Vincent.
Then, this past Thursday night in a district semifinal tilt at the Convo, the Warriors almost did it again, but came up short, 73-66. Early in the fourth quarter, the Jonathan Hebb-sparked royal blue and while even had a 50-44 advantage - but it was not to be.
Ironically, Warren, led by Hebb's 28 points, torched the net, shooting 63 percent from the field (27-of-43) - and still lost. The difference in the contest may have been at the foul line where the Cavaliers attempted 23 freebies to the Warriors' 12.
Give Chilly credit, though for coming back. After the game, the Cavs no doubt breathed a collective of relief.
Oh, yes, for what it's worth, Marietta swept Warren twice during the season.
What else has Marietta learned from playing Chillicothe?
Well, if you don't take care of the basketball, the Cavs will make you pay for it.
In the January game, Marietta turned the ball over 24 times, 17 in the first half - and that's way too many.
At the half, the Tigers trailed 35-14.
"Their pressure hurt us," said Secrest afterwards.
Needless to say, when the district final tips off, MHS will be expecting Chilly to press - and it needs to be ready for it. Anthony Tabler, Perry Wheeler, Evan Brockmeier, Zane Eschbaugh, Zach Arnold, Chris Stollar, and Morgan Wynn all are very athletic and quick - and have ballhandling ability.
Marietta should be able to handle Chillicothe's press. Thing is, will the Cavs be able to deal with the Tigers' defensive pressure?
Marietta learned that Chilly likes to attack the basket. In the first meeting, the Arnold blocked seven Cavalier shots.
If the MHS defense can force the Cavs to shoot more from the perimeter, that could be a plus.
Offensively, Marietta, too, will need to take it to the hole more. In January, the Tigers converted just two-of-seven from the free-throw line. The orange and black also drained just one three.
No question about it, MHS has its work cut out for itself.
Chillicothe will be favored, but don't count the Tigers out.
Like always, it'll take a total team commitment.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441, or at email@example.com