Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
We’re in full hoops mode now as the area’s boys basketball programs have joined the girls by starting their seasons … or the majority at least. Those who haven’t yet taken the court will do so this week, a seven-day period that boasts several interesting matchups.
After the first full week of high school basketball season, here’s this week’s Shootaround:
A. I’m guessing that when Chillicothe boys coach Eric Huffer imagined the start of the season, he envisioned it to be exactly how it’s gone for his Cavaliers. Behind Wright State commit Brandon Noel and Cedarville commit Jayvon Maughmer, Chillicothe breezed by both Maysville and Cincinnati Lockland at the Zanesville Tip-Off Classic. Noel had 42 points on the weekend while Maughmer added 35. Then, of course, there’s Tre Beard, who scored 35 and nailed seven 3-point field goals. Add in players like Vincent Roper, Kam Smith and Courtland Duncan and you’ve got a squad that can compete with anybody. I know it’s early but the Cavaliers are, right now, the most complete team in the area. Take that to the bank.
B. Both Waverly and Northwest’s girls are off to perfect starts as each stands at 2-0. The Tigers own wins over West and Hillsboro while the Mohawks have beaten Clay and Oak Hill. Leading the Tigers has been junior guard Zoiee Smith, who has scored 25 points alongside 10 assists and eight rebounds. That type of production for Northwest has came from junior Haidyn Wamsley, who’s totaled 24 points … 16 of which were needed in a one-point win over the Oaks. Both teams also have big tests coming up this week as Waverly hosts South Webster on Monday while Northwest welcomes in Valley on Wednesday. There’s much to learn about each team and we’ll do just that this week. But the upside for both can’t be ignored.
C. It wasn’t discussed nearly as much as it should’ve been, but the start that Unioto’s girls have enjoyed is certainly noteworthy. The Shermans, who are coming off a 21-3 campaign, have beaten Perry (57-43) and Jackson (52-32). The win over Perry, won a Division II district title last season, came at Canton McKinley back on Nov. 23. Unioto, which is looked at as a heavy favorite to defend its SVC crown, has been led by Avery Miller, Amber Cottrill and Emily Coleman. Miller is averaging 11.5 points per game while Cottrill and Coleman are at 10 and 10.5, respectively. They’ll start conference play this week, traveling to Huntington.
Huntington girls coach Tiffany Carroll discussed her team’s lack of preparation after Tuesday’s loss to Dawson-Bryant. The team’s next two opponents are Unioto and Notre Dame.
“The bottom line is, and you can print this, I told the kids I didn’t think our focus is what it needs to be in practice. We haven’t really been coming to practice with the mentality and focus we need to prepare for the season. You perform how you prepare. We weren’t mentally prepared.”
Westfall’s Jay Wyman talked about what his team’s focus is after the Mustangs beat McClain to start their year. The team then turned around and handed Washington a loss the next night.
“I don’t think we’re worried about what everybody else thinks about us. We’re worried about us and how we play. I think we played well today and opened some eyes. For sure.”
Notre Dame’s Ava Hassel pointed out the fact that her Titans are much different without graduated center Katie Dettwiller and what the team needs to do to soften the blow of that loss.
“We know that we’re going to be in a lot of close games this year. We have to get used to it. It’s not going to be as easy as it’s always been for us. So we know we have to come out and fight.”
WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION
As if New Boston’s Kyle Sexton wasn’t already good enough, it looks as if he’s worked at getting even better during the offseason. Sexton led his Tigers to a season-opening win over Southeastern Saturday evening, scoring 27 points alongside 10 rebounds and four assists.
I know it happened in a loss but Oak Hill’s Caitlyn Brisker started her season with a bang, scoring 30 points, grabbing five rebounds and passing out an assist. She accounted for 67 percent of her team’s total offense as the Oaks dropped a 46-45 decision to Northwest.
PLAY OF THE WEEK
In Zane Trace’s 70-51 win over Amanda on Saturday, senior guard Cam Evans moved into the SVC’s top 50 scorers in history. Evans scored 25 points, passing Paint Valley graduate Drew Bobb and landing at No. 50 on the list with 1,127 career points.
Remember this name: Macie Graves. The Southeastern junior has carried the team to a 2-0 start with impressive wins over North Adams (46-36) and West Union (62-34). In those contests, Graves has tallied 42 points, 17 rebounds and four assists. But here’s the stat line anomaly … she’s shooting 18-of-23 from the free throw line and has turned the ball over just four times.
WHAT’S ON TAP
As usual, our team will be out and about this week with many interesting games on the schedule. Here’s where you can for sure find us this week.
Monday, it’s South Webster at Waverly’s girls while Unioto is Tuesday’s site as the Shermans’ boys host Miami Trace. Thursday, we’ll have updates from Logan Elm as Zane Trace’s boys travel there for an non-league showdown.
We’ll kick off the weekend with coverage from Hillsboro as the Indians host the Cavaliers in boys action and, on Saturday, we’re bringing a double scoop of coverage starting with Westfall at McClain’s girls and ending with Waverly at Miami Trace’s boys.
AREA TOP FIVE
1. Chillicothe (2-0), 2. Zane Trace (1-0), 3. Adena (1-0), 4. Jackson (0-0), 5. New Boston (1-0)
1. Unioto (1-0), 2. Wheelersburg (0-0), 3. Notre Dame (1-0), 4. Northwest (2-0), 5. McClain (2-0)