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Thursday, Apr. 2, 2015

Hoop season gets off to roaring start

Posted Wednesday, December 2, 2009, at 2:44 PM

If the first two boys basketball games I watched this season are any indication, it is going to be a very interesting 2009-10 campaign.

White River Valley overcame 17 missed free throws to win in overtime at Shoals on the night before Thanksgiving.

They were whistled for two technical fouls and committed a foul on a 3-pointer at the buzzer at the end of regulation with a one-point lead. Fortunately Garrett Bateman, an impressive junior guard who finished with a game-high 32 points, made just 1 of 3 freebies to force overtime.

WRV senior guard Jared Shelton, who was playing with a taped left wrist, had 20 points including the game-winning free throw in the final seconds.

It was my first visit to Shoals for a game, as hard as that is to believe. The one thing that impressed me was the condition of the gymnasium.

I would have never guessed the facility was about 40 years old. It obviously has been given a recent facelift.

Brian Smith, a former assistant coach at WRV and Worthington graduate, has a scrappy, competitive team. Good luck to Smith and his Jug Rox.

On Nov. 28 at Glover Gymnasium, Eastern Greene continued to build leads and Bloomfield continue to cut into them. In the end, the visiting Thunderbirds came away with a 51-49 victory.

EGHS connected on 5 of 6 shots to begin as they jumped out to an 11-0 lead with four minutes and 58 seconds remaining in the opening stanza.

Bloomfield, after starting 0-for-4 from the field, went 4-for-4 to go with two freebies as they trailed 11-10 after the first quarter.

Davis Russell made three, 3-pointers in the second quarter, including back-to-back treys, as part of a 21-point performance.

The Thunderbirds led 17-10 after the first two shots from long distance and 20-15 after the third, but a hoop by Bloomfield senior Andy Cochrane, who also had 21 points, and a free throw by Bryce Lindsey made it 20-18 at intermission.

Eastern Greene started the third quarter on an 8-0 run. It was started by JT Yoho, who had 16 points, and finished by Russell. Each had a three-point play as the T-Birds led 28-18 before the second half was 90 seconds old.

It was still 30-20 after the teams traded baskets. But Bloomfield closed the quarter on a 15-2 run. Cochrane and Holden Hamm each had three-point plays as well during the Cardinal outburst.

"Bloomfield hit a lot of tough shots to get the lead," said Eastern Greene coach Andy Igel. "They did not quit and that is a credit to coach (John) Bucher."

Hamm's driving lay-up put the Cardinals ahead 32-30 for its first lead and then Ryan O'Neall buried a 3-pointer from somewhere between the arc and half-court line as time expired, giving Bloomfield a 35-32 lead going to the fourth quarter. O'Neall finished with 12 points while Hamm added nine.

"Ryan came in and gave us a lift off the bench," said Bloomfield coach John Bucher. "Holden just plays his butt off all the time."

Davis buried another 3-pointer, he made 4 of 5, to tie the issue at 37-37 with 5:41 remaining, and the dog fight between county and conference neighbors was officially in high gear.

Cochrane hit two freebies, which were countered by a driving shot by Yoho, leaving the issue deadlocked at 39-all.

An 11-2 spurt by EGHS left them ahead 50-41 after a hoop in the lane by Zack Johnson, who scored all seven of his points in the second half, including five in the fourth quarter. His basket with 1:40 to play was set up by a theft from Russell.

A free throw by Tyler Igel with 9.8 seconds to play was the only scoring in the final 100 seconds by Eastern Greene

Bloomfield got three foul shots and a hoop by Cochrane, trimming the deficit to 50-46 with 22 seconds to play.

Igel's foul shot put the Thunderbirds up by five before O'Neall hit another trey with 2.4 seconds remaining, but the Cardinals had no time-outs as the clock expired.

Bucher said that they are still trying to establish their roles and identity and he commended the play of Bryce Lindsey, Drake Vandeventer, Hamm, Cory Slaven, Payton Karl and Cochrane.

"We really scrapped and played hard. I was proud of their effort," said Bucher.

Igel said he thought all the fans got their money's worth and the T-Bird fans probably got more than they would have thought or wanted.

I have a funny feeling this won't be the final meeting between the Cardinals and Thunderbirds. I can envision another meeting on March 2, 5 or 6 at the Class 2A North Knox Sectional.

B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at hargisbj@yahoo.com.

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