November 26, 2013
PDT Sports Writer
Social media has influenced so much in the last decade to the point where it has now helped create an rare and almost iconic basketball game for one area high school boys team.
With a week before the opening of the 2013-2014 season for Ohio boys high school hoops teams, Minford was about to enter its season one game shy of the 22-game maximum allowed by the OHSAA after a scheduling error by Chillicothe Huntington forced the Huntsmen to cancel a Nov. 30 trip into Scioto County. Upset about the news, Falcons sophomore forward Trey Kelley took to the social media platform of Twitter to voice his frustrations.
“I find it absolute BS that Huntington scheduled to play us then backs out because they have too many games? (Shaking my head),” Kelley said on Twitter.
Once Kelley started conversing with one of his Twitter followers, he jokingly made a suggestion.
“I say we play Huntington Prep and (hashtag) shockthenation,” Kelley said.
As the saying goes, ask and ye shall receive. Within a week of the Nov. 20 posts, Minford and Huntington (WV) Prep agreed to a Dec. 2 game at Minford to start the Falcons’ season, the Daily Times learned late Monday night.
Within an hour of the posting, Huntington Prep assistant coach Dave Meddings contacted Kelley through the social media site and started the dialogue of getting the two teams to play. At first, Kelley thought Meddings was kidding.
It didn’t take long before he realized the offer was genuine.
“Once he kept tweeting me back, (Minford coach Josh) Shoemaker called him,” Kelley said. “Once I saw that it could actually happen, I just really couldn’t believe it. It’s crazy.”
Although he is not active on social media, Shoemaker read through Kelley’s timeline and messages to understand what was taking place.
According to Shoemaker, one of the reasons why the Irish agreed to set the game up was to play a local team and create a fan base in the region. Before he agreed to the game, Shoemaker wanted to be honest with his program about what could happen.
“You’re pretty much guaranteeing that you’re going to lose,” Shoemaker said. “…They’ve beat small college teams. Are you fine with that?”
The answer was a resounding yes.
Entering Wednesday, Huntington Prep has a 6-0 record and boasts a number of Division I prospects or commits. Last year, current University of Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins was a member of the Irish. This year, Huntington Prep will showcase Montaque Gill-Ceasar, JaQuan Lyle, Miles Bridges and Thomas Bryant — all consensus Top 25 prospects in their respective classes — while Josh Perkins, Angel Delgado, Levi Cook and Jalen Lindsey are in the Top 100 list.
Shoemaker said a number of major college coaches or their assistants will be on hand to watch the game.
While Shoemaker is entering the game with a realistic mindset, he is also glad to have the experience. He has received a number of reactions from the community.
“Every now and then, you have just got to step out of your comfort zone and have a little fun,” Shoemaker said.
Tipoff for this varsity only game is slated for 6:30 p.m. and members of the Irish will be on hand to sign autographs after the game. More details will become available throughout the week.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.