Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
After another full week of high school basketball season, here’s this week’s Shootaround:
A. There’s still a log jam atop the SOC II boys conference standings. Oak Hill, Waverly and Wheelersburg all still only have one loss and each has to play the other one more time. This coming week could sort things out a bit more as Oak Hill takes on Minford and Eastern, Waverly faces South Webster on Tuesday, and Wheelersburg has Valley and West lined up. However, each of those contests are winnable games, meaning the title race could linger into next week where Oak Hill takes on both Wheelersburg and Waverly. Oak Hill is, of course, led by Chase Hammond while Waverly is paced by Trey Robertson and Will Futhey, and ‘Burg is reliant on Carter McCorkle and J.J. Truitt. With those names at the top of the opponents’ scouting reports, things are bound to get interesting down the stretch. Should be fun to watch and cover.
B. We all know how good Wheelersburg’s girls are but the Pirates have a tough week coming up, facing both Oak Hill and Northwest. However, if they can get past those two, the SOC II title is practically theirs to keep. Kaylee Darnell, Ellie Kallner and Alaina Keeney have paced the team to a 13-1 mark and a 10-0 record inside the conference. But Oak Hill has won four straight and Northwest stands at 15-1 overall and 10-1 in the SOC II. If ‘Burg wins both, they’ll have at least a two-game stranglehold in the league with just four to play. The Pirates won both previous meetings with a 49-34 victory over the Oaks and a 44-35 decision over the Mohawks. No matter what, Wheelersburg is going to find out a lot about itself this week. It doesn’t matter who the Pirates are matched up against, they always get the opponents’ best shot. That should be no different in two pivotal conference games this week.
C. At one time, Adena’s boys were 6-5 and had many in-house questions to answer about their program. But over the past four games, it looks as if the Warriors have found their identity and provided those much-needed answers in the process. Adena now stands at 10-5 and has beaten their last four opponents by an average margin of 25.5 points. Juniors Logan Bennett and Preston Sykes are leading the charge, senior Cade McKee has provided another scoring option, sophomore Dillon McDonald has become a nice role player, and junior Nate Throckmorton is running the offense like a finely-tuned engine. Additionally, Jarrett Garrison is getting back to full strength after an injury, senior Brandon Smith has shouldered leadership responsibilities, and Jacob Shipley continues to sink the 3-ball. If you remember, peaking at the right time allowed the Warriors to win a district title last year. Could history be repeating itself?
Paint Valley girls coach Tristan Norman discussing sophomore Olivia Smith after Tuesday’s win:
“Olivia, she’s an athlete. She had a slow start to the year with mono but when we finally started looking at things, last week, we had a different lineup. We put her on the ball. We know that any night, Liv is going to rebound the ball. We shoot however many shots and however many we miss, we know she’s going to go chase them down. But the ball pressure that she’s been applying has really put us in the step of where we want to go. I’ve been searching for that.”
Adena boys coach Kyle Bradley talking about his team’s four-game win streak:
“We returned a lot of guys. With the five juniors, you mix in a new guy in Cade [McKee] and then you add in Brandon Smith, a senior that hasn’t played with that group, and you have Dillon [McDonald] as a young guy. It’s just trying to learn to play with one another and moving the basketball. We didn’t do a great job of that early on. We weren’t very ball-strong. You look a couple of the previous games we’ve had and we have 13 and 14 assists. When we move the ball, I’ve been saying it since day one here … the best player on our team is the open player.”
WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION
One of the best kept secrets in our area is Eastern’s Abby Cochenour. The Eagles’ sophomore has set nets on fire this season, most recently with a 40-point outing in a 56-51 win over Zane Trace on Saturday. She’s averaging well over 20 points per game and has consistently made defenses look foolish while doing so.
With the ability to get to the bucket, shoot the 3 and defend, Piketon’s Chris Chandler is fun to watch. While his Redstreaks split games with Westfall and Adena this past weekend, Chandler was as steady as they come, posting 33 points … 19 against the Mustangs and 14 against the Warriors. Both totals led the team. Bad news for SVC opponents: Chandler is just a junior.
Before her career ends, if you get the chance to watch Oak Hill’s Caitlyn Brisker play, take it. Brisker is ringleader for the Oaks after topping 1,000 career points last season. Behind their veteran captain, the Oaks have now won four straight … including a 49-46 win over Minford on Monday, a 53-29 win over Eastern on Thursday, and a 74-28 victory over Wellston on Saturday.
He’s still extremely young but Southeastern has a good one in Derek Wheeler. The sophomore led the team in scoring in this past weekend’s games with a seven-point outing against Adena on Friday and an 18-point performance in a 61-42 over Westfall on Saturday. He’s raw, but you can see his talent bursting out the seams. He’ll continue to develop. Put his name on your radar.
SHOT OF THE WEEK
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Paint Valley’s Hanna Uhrig and Olivia Smith discuss the team’s 53-50 win over Zane Trace on Tuesday. The two combined for 26 points in the contest.
Those of you who have seen Northwest already know this but Keirah Potts has been consistently impressive all year long. Her 20 points and 10 rebounds led the way in a 51-35 win over Valley this past week, and that type of performance is what’s become expected of her. With Potts leading the way, alongside Haidyn Wamsley, Valerie Copas, Ava Jenkins, etc., the Mohawks are going to be a tough out in the tournament … no matter who they’re matched with.
Paint Valley’s Hanna Uhrig is emerging into a bonafide scoring option. While her shooting abilities are still developing, she has an uncanny ability to get to the line and nail her free throws. She leads the Bearcats in scoring, a young group that will cause problems over the next two winters.
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 Oak Hill at Wheelersburg’s girls while Wilmington is Tuesday’s site as the Hurricane’ girls host Miami Trace. Wednesday and Thursday, we’ll have updates from Wellston and Wheelersburg as the Rockets’ girls host Jackson and the Pirates’ girls welcome in Northwest in SOC II action.
We’ll kick off the weekend with coverage from Unioto as the Shermans host Piketon in a conference bout and, on Saturday, we’re bringing a double scoop of coverage starting with Miami Trace at Huntington’s girls and ending with Manchester at Southeastern’s girls.
Unioto’s Emily Coleman signs with St. Louis College of Pharmacy … Evans comes up big down the stretch, leads ZT to revenge win … Cavaliers win battle of state-ranked teams … Oak Hill fights off late Minford rally
AREA TOP TEN
1. Chillicothe (12-1) … 2. Jackson (13-2) … 3. Zane Trace (12-2) … 4. Unioto (11-3) … 5. New Boston (13-1) … 6. Oak Hill (14-2) … 7. Waverly (11-3) … 8. Wheelersburg (10-2) … 9. Adena (10-5) … 10. Piketon (8-8)
1. Wheelersburg (13-1) … 2. Notre Dame (14-1) … 3. Unioto (13-2) … 4. Northwest (15-1) … 5. Southeastern (13-3) … 6. McClain (10-5) … 7. Miami Trace (9-5) … 8. Oak Hill (10-6) … 9. South Webster (8-7) … 10. Green (12-4)