PORTSMOUTH — Buzzer beaters, career milestones and alley-oops. As usual, it’s been a fun week of basketball around Scioto County.
Even with a shortened slate of games thanks to the holiday, there were plenty of storylines to watch, plenty of conference title implications at play and plenty of performances to take note of.
We’re back to a full schedule this week, one that’s sure to feature more of the same.
But before we get back at it, take a look at this week’s Shootaround:
A. The return of two of the area’s best players have both South Webster and Green primed for mid-season winning streaks. The Jeeps welcomed back Shiloah Blevins while the Bobcats did the same to Tanner Kimbler. And — because of course they did — Blevins and Kimbler proceeded to drop 17 and 28 points, respectively. Most importantly, their teams earned wins.
B. Wheelersburg’s Abbie Kallner is, by far, one of the most humble athletes I’ve covered. So humble, in fact, that she had no idea what she had done when she scored her 1,000th point Thursday. Late in the fourth quarter, Kallner hit two free throws for 999 and 1,000. When the crowd started to cheer, she was utterly confused.
“I didn’t know what they were cheering for. I had no idea. But then coach called me over and told me I had scored my 1,000th. I just smiled. I’m blessed with great teammates and coaches. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish anything if it wasn’t for them.”
That last part of the quote? Yeah, that’s what I mean by humble. Kallner is always pure class.
C. Portsmouth’s boys are a ton of fun to watch. With point guard Danny Lattimore leading the way, the Trojans are quick in transition, can shoot the 3-ball thanks to Matthew Fraulini, and clean the glass as well as anyone … thanks to Myles Shipp and Myquel McKinley. As of now, Eugene Collins’ crew sits at 5-4 but I fully expect them to mature as the season rolls along and, eventually, become a force to be reckoned with when it matters the most.
Wheelersburg girls coach Dusty Spradlin on Abbie Kallner and Kaylee Darnell combined for 37 of the team’s 55 points in Thursday’s SOC II win over Minford:
“I hadn’t done the math yet. You know, we talked earlier in the season, those two are going to have to shoulder the load and they did tonight. I also told the girls I thought a lot of kids really played their roles just fantastically. You can’t say enough about those two and how they look to score. Our patience, even between those two, was really good. It’s not always going to be perfect but they’re not afraid to step up and want the ball. Just really proud of everybody.”
Green boys coach Dirk Hollar on Gage Sampson’s 19 points and 19 rebounds in Friday’s 90-46 win over Symmes Valley:
“I thought [Symmes Valley] had too many offensive rebounds in the first half. So at halftime, I said, ‘Nobody should grab a rebound in the second half.’ He looked at me and he goes, ‘OK.’ I don’t think he gave up a rebound after that.”
IMPACT PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
We can probably just go ahead and name this subsection after Wheelersburg’s Tanner Holden. The Wright State commit scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Friday’s 70-57 win over Portsmouth. Yawn. What else is new? Uber-talented, dangerous on the offensive glass and can pull up from anywhere. He’s the real deal.
After the first time I watched Valley’s Andrew Shope play, I sent a tweet out explaining how much better the Indians were with him on the floor. Shope stayed out of foul trouble Saturday in a 74-61 win over Paint Valley, scoring a team-high 18 points. Valley is just 4-7 but with players like Shope spearheading a turnaround, the Indians have a golden opportunity to right the ship.
PLAY OF THE WEEK
— Derrick Webb (@dw1509) January 6, 2019
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO
Monday kicks off a big week of marquee games, both conference and non-conference.
On the girls side, Wheelersburg’s girls travel to undefeated Vinton County that evening in what should be an absolute slugfest. Then, Thursday, Notre Dame hosts Clay in bout at the top of the SOC I standings.
As for the boys, several games should provide drama, including Tuesday’s matchup between Wheelersburg and South Webster and Friday’s game between Green and Clay.
AREA’S TOP FIVE
1. Wheelersburg (9-0), 2. Eastern (9-1), 3. South Webster (5-5), 4. New Boston (7-3), 5. Portsmouth (5-4)
1. Notre Dame (10-0), 2. Wheelersburg (9-1), 3. Minford (10-2), 4. Clay (9-3), 5. Valley (6-6)
Reach Derrick Webb at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @dw1509.