By Wade Linville –
Some local basketball teams hit the hardwood Friday, Nov. 25 as the Southern Hills Athletic Conference held its annual Boys Basketball Preview at Lynchburg-Clay High School.
Varsity teams from the SHAC Division I (big school division) would take the court against teams from the SHAC Division II (small school division) for half-game contests.
The first of Brown County teams to take the court was the Fayetteville-Perry Rockets. The Rockets, representing the SHAC small school division, faced off against a skilled squad of Peebles High School. The Rockets struggled early on to fall behind 6-0 and at one point in the first quarter they would find themselves trailing 15-4.
It was Fayetteville junior Colin Connor coming through with a pair of field goals, followed by a score down low from junior postman Zak Smyth that would cut the Peebles’ lead to single digits just before the end of the the first frame.
With one period in the books, it was Peebles leading 19-10.
The Peebles Indians went on to outscore the Rockets 13-8 in the second quarter to claim a 32-18 victory in the half-game preview.
Taking the court next was the Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington Blue Jays of the SHAC big school division and the Whiteoak Wildcats of the small school division.
The Blue Jays struggled with turnovers as they seemed to be working out some early-season jitters. As a result, the Wildcats rose to a 12-5 lead in the first quarter.
The Jays settled down a bit in the second frame, outscoring the Wildcats 10-3 with the preview contest ending in a 15-15 tie.
Ripley junior Josiah Staggs kicked off scoring in the second period with an old fashioned three-point play to cut the Whiteoak lead to 12-8.
The Wildcats managed to expand their lead to 15-8, but it was Ripley sophomore Jaki Royal coming through with a field goal to slice the Wildcat lead to just five.
After being fouled on a shot, Royal went to the charity stripe to sink one-of-two attempts to narrow the margin to four points.
With 1:51 to play, it was Royal coming through with a score on a fast-break to leave the Jays trailing by just two points.
A bucket by Ripley junior Brian Dunn would follow, tying the game at 15 with 1:30 left on the clock.
Neither team would manage another score for the final minute-and-a-half.
“We’re working to get better every day and the kids are jelling well,” Ripley head coach Marty Adams said following the Jays’ performance at this year’s preview.
The next preview bout saw the Eastern Warriors of the SHAC big school division take the court against the Manchester Greyhounds of the small school division.
After trailing 14-8 at the end of the first quarter, the Warriors rallied back to claim a 21-18 victory.
A pair of three-pointers by Eastern junior Garyn Purdy cut the Manchester lead to 18-16 late in the second quarter, then it was a steal and score by Eastern senior Blake Rigdon that tied the game at 18.
A field goal by Eastern sophomore Ethan Battson put the Warriors on top 20-18, and capping off the three-point victory was a hit free throw by sophomore Marcus Hamilton.
Local varsity boys basketball teams were scheduled to officially begin their new season this week.
For more on this year’s local teams, be on the lookout for the Brown County Basketball Special Section to hit news stands Dec. 11.