Ashton Crace
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Derrick Webb

Derrick is SOSA's chief content coordinator and has worked for the Chillicothe Gazette, the Portsmouth Daily Times and Eleven Warriors. He's a 13-time award-winning journalist, a self-proclaimed baseball purist, a suffering Bengals fan and has never met a stranger.

Crace, Perkins pace Unioto to win at Westfall, Tanks remain at top of SVC

The Shermans are now 9-1 in SVC play.

Derrick Webb, Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

WILLIAMSPORT — When Unioto’s Zeke Schobelock was sidelined with an injury earlier this season, head coach Matt Hoops knew his Shermans would need to rely on different names to help fill that void on a nightly basis.

And since that Jan. 23 night, that’s exactly what’s happened.

It just so happened to be Ashton Crace’s turn to do so on Tuesday, and the senior happily did his part.

Crace’s game-high 17 points helped Unioto (13-5, 9-1 SVC) earn a 61-44 win at Westfall, further cementing itself as the SVC title frontrunner.

“Ashton is a great athlete,” Hoops said. “He took advantage of what the defense gave him. We talk a lot about playing to your strengths. Ashton has worked hard on his 3-point shot and it’s still not where he wants it to be. But he’s an outstanding athlete. When [Westfall] placed a taller defender on him, we felt like he could get to the rim, too. He did that tonight. He was a huge spark for us. It’s been neat to see different guys step up for us.”

Unioto’s KB Perkins attempts to score during the first half of Tuesday’s win.
CREDIT: Derrick Webb/SOSA

Then, there was junior KB Perkins, who acted as Crace’s partner in crime all night.

Perkins was constantly on the floor after loose balls, played bigger than he is in the paint, and was a constant nuisance for Westfall’s defense.

The thorn in the Mustangs’ side ended with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds … on his birthday nonetheless.

“That’s what happens when you turn 18 I guess,” Hoops said, with a smile. “KB played extremely well and he does that for us a lot. Tonight, he was exceptional on both ends of the floor. He brought a lot of energy for our guys. He’s not typically a vocal leader. But tonight, he was. That’s a huge lift for us.”

Tale of the tape

From start to finish, save for a quick moment in the first quarter, Unioto had control of the lead. 

Perkins gave the Shermans an edge just 12 seconds into the action and scored the team’s first six points, pacing them to a 6-4 lead with 5:56 left in the first quarter.

Westfall then went ahead 8-6 with back-to-back buckets from Bryan Craig, but Unioto answered with scores from Crace, Blake Fitch and Blake Hoops, taking a 12-9 lead into the second.

Newton Hoops began the second with a 3-ball before finding his brother, Blake, for a second consecutive trifecta, putting the Shermans ahead 18-9 with 6:58 to go in the first half.

Those two buckets sparked a 12-0 run, making it a 22-9 lead with 6:03 left. That double-digit advantage stayed intact at halftime by a 33-19 count.

“I felt like the momentum swung into our favor and we got comfortable offensively when we went on that run,” Hoops said. “Then, in the second half, we were comfortable with that lead. Newton and Blake started that and the guys fed off each other all night.”

Westfall (13-6, 8-3 SVC) used a scoring surge from Brody Clark and Henry Barnes to cut the deficit to 35-26 with 6:08 to play in the third. But that was as close as the Mustangs would get.

Perkins answered with two free throws, making it 37-26, before Crace, Blake Hoops and Fitch all pocketed baskets for a 43-31 lead at the 2:16 mark.

After the Mustangs were again able to whittle the deficit to nine at 44-35 after three quarters, Fitch and Crace both scored to begin the fourth, pushing the advantage to 49-38.

Put simply, that was the beginning of the end for Westfall.

Perkins scored with 5:03 left to make it a 13-point lead and Crace scored through contact at the 4:20 mark before hitting the ensuing free throw, producing a 56-40 tally.

That was more than enough momentum for the Shermans to ride to victory.


The win creates even more separation at the top of the league standings. With four conference games remaining on its schedule, Unioto is the only SVC program with just one loss.

Zane Trace sits behind the Shermans with two and, after Tuesday’s results, Westfall and Adena follow with three losses.

Unioto’s road to the league crown includes two matchups with Paint Valley and contests against Huntington and Piketon. Those three teams have a combined record of 16-40.

But Hoops isn’t allowing his team to look at what’s on paper. There’s still work to be done.

“We tell our guys that we want to enjoy every single win we get,” Hoops said. “I’ve asked them since January 1 to go 1-0. We’re doing that and we’ve done that. But tomorrow, we’ll lock back in. I’m really proud of our guys tonight. Tomorrow, it’s back to work.”

Stat book

Crace added five rebounds to his game-high 17 points while Perkins posted his 15-point, 10-rebound double-double alongside three assists. Blake Hoops totaled 12 points and four rebounds, and Fitch ended the night with 11 points, six steals and four assists.

As for Westfall, Bryan Craig led the way with 12 points and four assists while Henry Barnes tallied nine points and five rebounds. Brody Clark also chipped in with nine points, three boards and three assists.

Unioto’s Caden Cutright drives to the basket during Tuesday’s win over Westfall.
CREDIT: Derrick Webb/SOSA
What’s on tap

While Westfall attempts to get back on track on Saturday, hosting Piketon, Unioto returns to the floor on Friday at Paint Valley.

The Shermans have four games left on their schedule, all of which are league games. 

“I’m absolutely proud of this team. We asked them to stay the course, focus on their job and their responsibilities and make everyone else in this gym irrelevant, because this is a hard place to play,” Hoops said. “I feel like we did that. We battled adversity, playing on the road against a really tough team. Our guys responded tonight.”


Unioto: 12-21-11-17 — 61

Westfall: 9-10-19-6 — 44

Unioto: 22-45 FG, 13-19 FT, 4-15 3pt., 33 rebounds (K. Perkins 10), 16 turnovers, 11 assists (Fitch 4). Scoring: Crace 17, K. Perkins 15, B. Hoops 12, Fitch 11, N. Hoops 5, Cutright 1.

Westfall: 18-42 FG, 3-5 FT, 3-12 3pt., 19 rebounds (Layton 5, Barnes 5), 18 turnovers, 7 assists (Craig 4). Scoring: Craig 12, Barnes 9, Clark 9, Gall 7, Layton 6, Tuttle 1.


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