Adena, Westfall, & Zane Trace all reminded us Friday night why games are not played on paper
By Shayne Combs, SVCsportszone.com
Friday night takes us all back to the preseason talk where there were thoughts of three (maybe four) losses winning at least a share of this yearâ€™s league title. In the Fast Break section of the recent SVC Sports Talk podcast show, Unioto and Huntington were both put on upset alert, and perhaps Southeastern should have been as well.
I was out at Zane Trace Friday night, and this game was as physical as any game I have seen in years. The atmosphere was amazing and it had an old 90s feel when these two not so friendly rivals got together on the hardwood. The gym was packed, and both student sections were incredible. In some recent emails, I have been told that many feel these two student sections are the front runners for this yearâ€™s award on our website, and after Friday, I canâ€™t say that I disagree with the opinions of the fans in this weekâ€™s inbox. I credit the Unioto students for bringing a great act on the road, and the ZT students are much improved (and the Coach Alley impersonator was classicâ€¦very creative) as they are starting to give their team a much more distinct home court advantage.
As for the game, Unioto came out shooting the perimeter shot well, and they probably fell in love with it a bit much. They did lead 15-14 after one thanks to a pair of triples from Bryce Arledge and another from Cole Murray; however, in the second quarter, the ball did not fall as often and Zane Trace responded with a 17-9 second period to take a 31-24 lead at the half.
Arledge found the hot hand in the second half as the junior knocked down triples number four and five on the night to start the fourth quarter as Unioto trailed just 43-40. A few minutes later â€“ and ZT still up three â€“ the Pioneers received consecutive baskets from Wes Beam, Ian Carle, and Jesson Hill to stretch the lead to nine at 51-42. Twice, Unioto would cut it to seven, but it never got closer than that as ZT completed the win with Carle and Colton Whitehouse both knocking down a pair of late free throws.
This Zane Trace team is going to be really dangerous down the stretch. Anytime you take a team that has the talent they do and put them in a relaxed, nothing to lose position, they are going to be really tough to play. This is especially the case at home, and do not forget, Huntington and Piketon both still travel to Kinnikinnick before the seasonâ€™s end.
As for Unioto, the Shermans will rebound from this loss. The good news for them is that Murray and Chase Detillion both appeared healthy tonight. I know when players return from injury and have been in and out of practice that substitution patterns and overall rhythm can be hard to establish. With Arledge shooting as well as he is right now (he had five threes tonight), he is going to make Unioto hard to guard when Murray and Detillion are back to 100-percent, because he makes it impossible for the defense to send help without paying the price.
It was definitely a crazy night in the SVC. Again, ZT and WF are both so dangerous because they have the talent to beat anyone, and with them struggling in the first half, Coach Alley and Coach Mink are both free to turn their athletes loose and see what happens. As for Adenaâ€™s win tonight, that could be a huge factor in the final SVC standings. Southeastern is going to have to steal one back, and perhaps Saturday night in Piketon is a great opportunity to do just that. I debated going down to The Oven for that game, but I think I will stay closer to home and go over to Huntington to watch the two-shade blue fresh off their first win.