MINFORD – Shiloah Blevins is back for the South Webster Jeeps, and it was noticeable. The senior forward who was first team all-district a season ago has been sidelined with an injury since the Jeeps December 7th road win at Waverly.
But when the road travelling South Webster crowd gave Blevins a big round of applause as his name was announced in the Jeeps starting lineup, it was a moment he had been waiting for nearly a month.
“It felt so good,” said Blevins when asked about his return to the court in South Webster’s (5-5, 3-3 SOC II) road win at Minford (2-7, 2-3 SOC II), 59-35. “I had a lot of adrenaline coming into this game, and it was very exciting for me to come back and play with my guys.”
“You could just tell the first practice he came back, the air in the gym changed, guys had different looks on their faces,” said Jeeps head coach Brenton Cole. “I kind of kept it to myself, not saying anything to anybody, but they looked like they were ready to go again. I said it earlier to the radio, bringing a guy like him back boosts everybody’s play.”
South Webster took an early lead after the first quarter over Minford at 20-4 by hitting their open looks and playing very staunch defense. For the Jeeps to be successful as the season progresses through the core of their conference schedule, Cole knows just how important those two things are for his team.
“When you’re open, you’ve got to hit it. If you don’t, you could easily lose games. We’ve had games where we’ve missed open shots and then it’s a dog fight at the end. But as you could tell from tonight, our defense kind of fed off our offense.”
South Webster made 10 total three’s in Friday night’s win over Minford, and no player hit more than three (Braden Bockway), meaning seven different Jeeps shot and hit their open three’s in a road environment.
“It’s very important for us,” said Blevins after scoring 17 in his return from injury, “Because once we start knocking down those open shots, they’re going to close out harder which opens up the driving lanes for us.”
Defense was crucial in the Jeeps run, too. After holding Minford to just four first quarter points, South Webster turned around and continued their defensive intensity by allowing the Falcons to score just seven points in the second quarter and hold a 36-11 lead going into the halftime break.
“Defense is what our whole team, especially Coach takes the most pride in,” said Bockway who led South Webster with 18 points. “That’s what we do mostly in practice is defensive drill after defensive drill because that’s what we take the most pride in.”
South Webster would continue their holding onto their lead, eventually taking a 24 point road conference win over Minford, 59-35.
Although their road win Friday was a big one, the Jeeps have to have quick memories and begin to prepare for what Blevins believes is their biggest game of the season when the current leader in the SOC II standings, Wheelersburg Pirates, make the trip up State Route 140 to South Webster on Tuesday.
“I think it’s going to be the biggest game of our season,” said Blevins. “I think our crowd is going to be there. For us to get ready, we can’t take any days off and we have to keep attacking at each other. If we keep attacking each other, we’re going to get better and better. It’s going to be a good matchup between us.”
“I don’t know if anyone gets ready for that one,” said Cole when looking forward to Tuesday’s matchup with the Pirates, “With Tanner Holden, we’ve seen what he’s been doing, it’s unbelievable. We’re going to give them our best effort. We’re at home, I’m glad we’re going to see them for the first time at home. I’ll take my guys against about anybody in the SOC right now.”
FINAL: South Webster holds on to beat Minford 59-35 in SOC II play. This win will lead into their big home game against the top team in the SOC II: Wheelersburg.#PDTSports
— Jacob Smith (@JacobSmithPDT) January 5, 2019
South Webster: 20-16-16-7 – 59
Minford: 4-7-9-15 – 35
South Webster: 20 FGs, 10 3PT (Bockway 3), 9/15 FT. Scoring: Bockway 18, Blevins 17, Trae Zimmerman 7, Jacob Ruth 6, Andrew Smith 3, Dawson Veach 3, Tanner Voiers 3, Gabe Ruth 2
Minford: 12 FGs, 2 3PT (Knore 2), 9/15 FT. Scoring: Knore 9, Skaggs 5, Kelley 4, McCormick 4, Dalton 4, Ashley 4, Crank 3, Strickland 2