Unioto finds a way to keep on winning
By Shayne Combs, SVCsportszone.com
Friday night’s match-up between Huntington and
Unioto was an intriguing match-up because of the
contrasting styles of these two teams. Unioto is one of the
deeper teams in the league. The Shermans are trying to
utilize some pressure defense and a well-balanced offensive
attack to play a little faster than in years past, while
Huntington is a team who always seems to win the battle
of tempo with their patient offense and their match-up
zone. As Friday’s battle played out, Unioto’s style
won out early with Huntington’s style allowing them
to hang around and make a late run; however, in the end, it
was Unioto holding on to win 49-46 to remain undefeated
on the year.

In the first half, Unioto was able to knock down a few
three-pointers and use great on-ball pressure to limit
Huntington’s post feeds as Unioto opened up a 26-16
halftime lead. A huge problem for Huntington came at the
free throw line. The Huntsmen entered the bonus with 3:52
remaining in the first half, but the green and white made
only one of eight free throws as they finished the half
down 10.

In the first few minutes of the second half, Unioto looked
as if they were ready to put the game away. The first two
possessions resulted in Huntington turnovers with Cole
Murray (Murray scored a team-high 12 points) and
Christian Dunkle getting easy scores on the other end, and
the third possession saw a Brick Davis defensive board and
outlet result in a Cody Strange lay-up to put Unioto up 32-
16. The lead briefly reached 17 at 37-20 and was still 14 at
the end of the third period as Unioto led 39-25.

Even at 14 entering the final period, I started to get the
same feeling I had watching the Unioto/Westfall triple-OT
game last week (when Unioto blew a 10-point advantage
going into the final quarter). Unioto had started to take
their foot off the pedal, and Huntington was starting to get
more comfortable offensively. Huntington was able to get it
under 10 on a Blake Campbell old-fashion three, and from
that point, Dylan Gragg started to take the game over.
Down six at 45-39, Gragg went on an individual run where
he scored seven of the game’s final 10 points, but it
wasn’t enough as Huntington was unable to get a shot
up in its final possession.

Gragg finished with a game-high 22 points – 16 in the
second half. After a quiet first three quarters, Gragg started
getting more involved late. Huntington was able to get the
ball inside as Gragg made some great catches and was able
to finish in traffic. Brice Vickers – just a sophomore –
scored 13 points as he continues to grow into a solid
scoring guard for the Huntsmen.

Unioto’s free throw shooting didn’t help its cause
any in the second half. On the night, the Shermans were 11-
of-31 from the charity stripe. In fact when free throws
were being shot Friday night, you were probably best off
to just hide the eyes of any youngsters watching as the two
teams combined for a dreadful 17-of-50 from the foul line.

I have mixed feelings about this game. As for Unioto, you
have to be happy at 5-0, but you have to be concerned
with the inability to put teams away – especially on
your home floor. Friday is the third league home game
where Unioto found itself up double-figures only to see its
opponent make a serious run to make the game interesting.
Back to the positive side, this is a group of Unioto kids
who did not win a lot over the past two years, and they are
finding ways to win a variety of games.

On the Huntington side, I continue to be amazed how these
kids win the battle of tempo. The Huntsmen are able to
compete every night, because even when they play poorly,
they defend well enough to hang around until the offense
can get going. Other than the Piketon loss, Huntington has
played several games in the 40’s, and when they get
that second or third guy in double-figures they seem to
have a chance to win.

The difference in this game was Unioto’s depth. With
Chase Detillion back, Unioto can now play nine or 10
guys. This caused some fatigue in the Huntington
backcourt and caused some serious foul trouble that made
some situations tough on Huntington down the stretch.

In other action,
Westfall got its first league win behind a
monster double-double from Zak Smith
. Paint Valley held
off ZT as Logan Markko put his name into the PV record
book, and
Piketon had little trouble in Frankfort as Evan
Legg continued his climb up the all-time SVC scoring list
Click here for a look at tonight’s McDonald’s
i’m lovin’ it SVC Boys’ Basketball
Piketon's Evan Legg scored 34 on
Wednesday night and 29 on Friday night.
The senior is quickly moving up the
all-time list.