Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
After another full week of high school basketball season, here’s this week’s Shootaround:
A. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better freshman in Ohio, yes I said the state, than Eastern Brown’s Rylee Leonard. She’s the engine that keeps the Warriors running. Her basketball IQ is off the charts, she can hit the mid-range jumper and get to the rack, she’s one of the best passers on her team, and she crashes the boards hard. But what sets her apart is her ability to play defense alongside all of those traits. There’s a reason the Warriors are the No. 2 ranked team in Division III and Leonard is a big part of it. It’s a treat to watch her terrorize other teams.
B. The FAC girls title race is completely wide open. Currently, McClain, Chillicothe and Miami Trace sit at 5-1 in league play and each of those programs have the ability to beat the other. In fact, they have. Miami Trace lost to McClain, Chillicothe lost to Miami Trace, and McClain lost to Chillicothe … if that makes sense at all. Each team also has a top-of-the-line scorer in Chillicothe’s Shawnice Smith, Miami Trace’s Shaylee McDonald — who’s currently out with an injury that could certainly affect the standings — and McClain’s Kyla Burchett. No matter what happens in the near future, one thing is for sure: it’s going to be extremely fun to watch.
C. What a win for Waverly on Tuesday. Sophomore Trey Robertson did what he does best: score. Sophomore Will Futhey did what he does so well: rebound the basketball. And senior Tanner Smallwood was his usual self, controlling the chaos under the bucket. If the Tigers can piece together four quarters like they did against Wheelersburg, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with come tournament time. They should have Mark Stulley fully healthy by that time, easing Robertson’s ball-handling responsibilities, Zeke Brown is always one of the best athletes on the floor, and Michael Goodman plays like his hair is on fire each night.
Eastern Brown girls coach Kevin Pickerill after his team’s 55-51 win over North Adams:
“We were able to just kind of maintain and hang around. You can see the intensity [within the rivalry] by just looking at the fans. That kind of shows you how big this game is, and the kids feed off that. It’s a great rivalry, it’s a league rivalry, it’s a friendly rivalry. We’ll go across and eat Subway tonight with each other. But when you cross the line, it’s all business.”
Waverly’s Trey Robertson after the Tigers’ 67-58 win at Wheelersburg:
“We started off hot on the defensive end and contested shots. We got the defensive rebounds and kicked out, and it went in transition. We got open looks early and [Wheelersburg] started folding a little bit. We kept going at them and kept stepping on their throats.”
McClain’s Payton Pryor after scoring a career-high 19 points in a 59-58 victory over Waverly:
“Coach said that I was going to be able to get open on the post. The guards found me. I just tried to get open. That’s really it. They gave me the ball and, thankfully, it went in.”
WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION
I had the chance to see Westfall’s Mahaley Farmer play for the first time this past week and she didn’t disappoint in the least bit. Farmer led the Mustangs to a 59-48 win over Piketon, one where she posted 17 points, 12 rebounds, eight steals and five assists. She was everywhere.
Oak Hill’s Chase Hammond continues to play lights out. The Oaks senior scored 26 points in Saturday’s 53-29 win over Coal Grove and currently leads the team in scoring. Behind Hammond, Oak Hill is 12-1 overall. This week, Hammond and the Oaks go up against West, Northwest and Triway.
After picking up a 39-33 win over Ironton St. Joe on Thursday, a 55-39 win over Rose Hill on Tuesday, and a 59-47 win over Clay on Monday, Green sits at 10-4. A huge reason for that is sophomore guard Kasey Kimbler, who scored a combined 70 points in those three wins. She’s one of the best 3-point shooters in the region, and she’s continually proved that this season.
PLAY OF THE WEEK
Trey. Roberston. Buckets.
SHOT OF THE WEEK
Waverly lost to McClain on Wednesday but you can see the emotion the Tigers played with in the second half of a 59-58 loss.
Waverly is 10-4 overall and 5-3 in the SOC II.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Paint Valley’s Olivia Smith had a huge night on Saturday in the team’s third win this season. As her Bearcats beat Western 56-42, the sophomore had nine points, 12 rebounds and eight steals. PV hasn’t received much press at 3-11. But Smith has definitely been a bright spot in the SVC. She battles on the glass, can score when needed to, and brings energy every night.
In Isaac Little’s absence, Unioto’s Josh Lambert stepped up for the Shermans this past week. The senior tallied 22 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in wins over Westfall and McClain as the Shermans improved to 9-2 this season. He’ll be imperative down the stretch for Unioto.
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 Minford at Oak Hill’s girls while Chillicothe is Tuesday’s site as the Cavaliers’ boys host Fairfield Union. Wednesday and Thursday, we’ll have updates from Chillicothe and Minford as the Cavaliers host Miami Trace and the Falcons welcome in South Webster in SOC II action.
We’ll kick off the weekend with coverage from Southeastern as the Panthers host Adena in a conference bout and, on Saturday, we’re bringing a double scoop of coverage starting with Hillsboro at Jackson’s girls and ending with Unioto at Zane Trace’s boys.
AREA TOP TEN
1. Chillicothe (10-1) … 2. Jackson (9-2) … 3. Unioto (9-2) … 4. Zane Trace (9-2) … 5. New Boston (11-1) … 6. Oak Hill (12-1) … 7. Waverly (8-3) … 8. Wheelersburg (7-2) … 9. Adena (6-5) … 10. St. Joseph Central (9-2)
1. Wheelersburg (11-1) … 2. Notre Dame (12-0) … 3. Unioto (11-2) … 4. Northwest (13-1) … 5. Southeastern (11-3) … 6. McClain (9-5) … 7. Adena (9-5) … 8. Waverly (10-4) … 9. Miami Trace (8-5) … 10. New Boston (11-5)