Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
After another full week of high school basketball season, here’s this week’s Shootaround:
A. I truly believe that Adena’s girls have shown that they are indeed the team to beat in the SVC this year. The Warriors took down Huntington, and Allison Basye, on Tuesday before handing Paint Valley its first loss 48 hours later. Freshmen Emma Garrison and Kiera Williams are one of the best young duos in the area while Jadyn Smith continues to find ways to score. The Warriors rebound better than most teams thanks to Cheyenne Ater and Sydney Foglesong, and their defense is led by an always relentless Makaela Lovely. If you’re looking for a frontrunner to win the SVC crown, make a visit to Frankfort.
B. Jackson has leapt out to a 3-0 start. And the Ironmen have had a different star step up every night. It started Friday with Boston Kuhn and Drew Bragg taking over the game, finishing with 23 and 19 points, respectively. The following night, it was Evan Spires and Braxton Hammond leading the charge with 19 and 17, respectively in a victory over Athens. The Ironmen couldn’t have asked for a better start with three straight victories in conference play, showing themselves to be the class of the conference thus far. If that balance continues moving forward, you could be looking at more than just an FAC champion in Jackson.
C. I wrote this in Friday’s gamer but it deserves to be repeated … Zane Trace’s boys will surprise many people this season. After the Pioneers lost five starters to graduation last year, they’re relying on an inexperienced group to get the job done this winter. And so far, so good. Nalin Robinson and Ben Nichols have been the leaders on a 3-2 team while Kyle Stonerock, Trey Miller, Carter Hill and Xzander Ream have all contributed as well. Not many are expecting much out of this group. That bodes well for them. Don’t be surprised if you see them play a significant role in who wins the league title.
Zane Trace coach Gary Kellough on his 500th career win:
“The biggest thing about 500 is, you have to look at it, God has really blessed me. At my age, I’ve got guys that are coaching with me who played for me back in the day. So He’s blessed me with the people that are around me, my health, and the settings that I’ve been in.”
New Boston senior Kyle Sexton on playing for coach Adam Cox:
“There’s a lot you can say about coach Cox. But the thing that sets him apart as a coach is his love for his players. He loves every one of us and pushes us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be … on and off the court.”
West’s Eden Cline after playing for the first time this season in a win over Northwest:
“I knew I had to come out and shoot well. That’s what I did in my off time. I shot a lot. Coach told us we needed to play defense and get rebounds. That’s what we did tonight.”
WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION
West’s Lexi Deaver has to be at the top of this list. The sophomore does a little bit of everything for a youth-laden Senator squad. In a win over Northwest this past Monday, Deaver scored four points, grabbed eight rebounds and passed out five assists. She’s going to be a force in the coming years. She’s smart with the basketball, can score at will and finds open teammates well.
While you hear about Allison Basye all the time, not many discuss Huntington’s Katie Hirsch. The senior has played in Basye’s shadow for quite some time now, but rest assured, the Huntsmen need her to play well to have a successful season. She’s adding an element to the team’s offense while cleaning the glass and becoming one of the team’s best defensive players. She’s worth the watch.
He can hit the 3, he can drive to the bucket and he can dish to teammates … Wheelersburg’s J.J. Truitt is the total package. In the past two seasons, Truitt has helped the Pirates win a district title and two conference crowns. Those same expectations are there this season. But with the ability to call on Truitt and a host of capable teammates, ‘Burg will be tough to beat again. Look for the senior to carry them down the stretch and provide leadership at crunch time.
SHOT OF THE WEEK
Zane Trace’s Trey Miller scored 11 points in Friday’s win over Paint Valley.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Westfall’s Gabby Patete lifted the Mustangs to a win over Unioto on Thursday. Here she is after the game.
If you’re looking for a young gun to keep on your radar, Southeastern’s Ashton Allman is a perfect candidate. The freshman has made a splash for the Panthers early and checks all the necessary boxes. He rebounds the ball exceptionally well and has created a presence under the bucket, blocking shots and earning second chance opportunities.
Sooner or later, it was going to happen. Wheelersburg’s Kaylee Darnell had her breakout game this season, scoring 33 points in a 70-38 win over Oak Hill. The senior guard has been phenomenal throughout her career, but this year is different. With one last go-around left, you can expect greatness out of Darnell all year long. She’s the enging that keeps ‘Burg going.
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 Fairfield at Eastern Brown’s girls while Waverly is Tuesday’s site as the Tigers’ boys host Minford. Wednesday and Thursday, we’ll have updates from Jackson and Notre Dame as Hillsboro’s girls travel to face the Ironladies while the Titans’ girls welcome Green in SOC I action.
We’ll kick off the weekend with coverage from Eastern Brown as the Warriors host Peebles in a conference bout and, on Saturday, we’re bringing a double scoop of coverage starting with Eastern at Piketon’s girls and ending with Whiteoak at New Boston’s boys.
Zane Trace’s Gary Kellough secures 500th career coaching win … Jackson uses second half surge to pull away from Hillsboro … Patete, Mustangs stun Shermans with last second winner … Wheelersburg passes early test, hands Valle SOC loss … Senators cling to lead, secure win over Northwest in SOC II action