Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
FRANKFORT — Nate Throckmorton and Jacob Shipley are extremely different from one another.
Throckmorton, a man of few words, let’s his play do his talking while hanging his hat on defense. Shipley could spend hours verbally breaking down a scouting report and uses the 3-ball to drive his game.
But what the sophomore pair does have in common is their passion to win … not just for themselves, but for their teammates, their coaches and their community.
During Adena’s three-game postseason run, Zach Fout, Logan Bennett, Preston Sykes and Caleb Foglesong have seemed to be the focal points of the Warriors’ success.
But when you take a closer look, Throckmorton and Shipley have been just as important. They just go about their business in a more silent manner.
And, without question, both know their roles inside and out.
“My main role on this team is to be a shooter and I have to be shot-ready all the time,” Shipley said. “I have to be ready for whatever my teammates create for me.”
However, Adena coach Kyle Bradley says shooting isn’t Shipley’s best attribute. He prepares for each game like no other player on his team.
“Jacob is a future leader of this program and a lot of people don’t know that,” Bradley said. “He’s such a smart kid, in the classroom and on the basketball court. You give him a scouting report and he can go execute it. So he’s an extension of our coaching staff. Those are nice to have. He’s made some big 3’s throughout the tournament for us and he continues to progress.”
While Shipley is a deep ball threat and a professor with a scouting report in hand, Throckmorton uses his athleticism to hound opposing ball-handlers.
“My role is a defensive one,” Throckmorton said. “That’s my main focus right now. I’m always as ready as I’ll ever be [to guard the opponent’s best player]. I’ve got great feet and a feel for the game on the defensive end. I’ve always been that way.”
Bradley, who’s driven home the point of how important his team’s play on the defensive side of the ball has been all year long, says Throckmorton has laid his future’s foundation with the program.
“Nate has had to step into a big role,” Bradley said. “He’s been steady and he’s opened our eyes in terms of our future. He’s handled the ball well for us and he always guards the other team’s best player. He does all the dirty work for us and he’s a selfless guy.”
When Throckmorton isn’t playing defense, his replacement — Shipley — is trying to replicate his on-ball pressure.
“I can always give Nate a break because he’s guarding the opponent’s best player each night,” Shipley said. “That’s the hardest part. I get subbed in, guard that same player for a little bit, and then Nate comes back in at full strength.”
Shipley, who’s been the team’s sixth or seventh man off the bench all season, seems to hit a big shot just when his team needs it the most. That’s probably happened because of two things: his ability to read what the defense is giving him and his ability to communicate with teammates.
“My whole thing is that I’m not as physically capable as the other guys. So I have to really depend on my knowledge and knowing what the other guys like to do,” Shipley said. “I just have to be fully into the scouting report to know what to do and how to react.”
The next scouting report Shipley will be studying is one that features Canal Winchester Harvest Prep as the opponent, which ended the regular season as the AP’s No. 2 ranked team in Division III and currently stands at 24-2.
What those two losses mean is that Harvest Prep is beatable, especially with a good plan in place.
“Harvest Prep is good, obviously,” Shipley said. “They’re really good basketball players. But I think if we get into the game how we want to, slow it down and dictate the pace, we’re capable of winning. Coming from 6-16 last year, we feel like we’ve been an underdog this whole season. Anything can happen.”
Both sets of Warriors, Adena and Harvest Prep, will meet at 8 p.m. in a Division III regional semifinal, Thursday at Ohio University’s Convocation Center.
A win over Harvest Prep would not only be an upset on paper but it would also be one step closer towards a regional title for Adena.
“I want to thank the community for all of their support. They’ve created crazy environments all year long,” Throckmorton said. “We want to win the next game. That’s always the goal.”