Huntington early season favorite in Scioto Valley Conference race

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Huntington Basketball
An unbeaten second half of last year’s conference play and the return of the conference player of the year in Joshua Kellough, highlight two main reasons why preseason talk in the Scioto Valley Conference starts with Coach Rick Uhrig’s Huntington Huntsmen.


An unbeaten second half of last year’s conference play and the return of the conference player of the year in Joshua Kellough, highlight two main reasons why preseason talk in the Scioto Valley Conference starts with Coach Rick Uhrig’s Huntington Huntsmen. Even with Huntington’s dominate down-the-stretch run a year ago, the green and white could not catch eventual conference champion Southeastern, but a more experienced Huntington squad now looks to get out of the gate quicker and capture its second league title in four years.

“The kids have been working hard and we hope to start quick this season,” said Coach Uhrig. “Right now my expectations are really high and the kids are starting to believe as well. With our experience, I hope that will help us get going early in the year, and then I think this team will continue to get better throughout the year.”

Kellough, a four-year starter at the point, averaged just less than 19 points per game with five rebounds and five assists while capturing the league’s top individual honor. Kellough played a key role as a freshman, playing point guard nearly 32 minutes a night for the SVC champion Huntsmen. Huntington has contended each of the last two seasons, but a slow start a year ago was too much for the Huntsmen to make up down the stretch.

Joshua’s supporting cast starts with his twin brother Justin. Justin averaged 12 points per game as a junior, however, that averaged climb to nearly 20 during the postseason. Justin averaged over five rebounds and nearly four assists as well. The Kellough connection accounted for half the Huntington scoring a year ago.

Huntington’s one loss to graduation was a costly one. Cory Vickers averaged 10 points per game and was one of the league’s better athletes. The Huntsmen will look to a host of others, which now have a year of varsity under their belt, to pick up the slack. The duo of Cory Cottrill (6-4) and Drew Trusty (6-3) really started to get comfortable throughout the second half of last year and many feel these two will now give Huntington some inside scoring to complement the fine Huntington perimeter.

“They have definitely improved their games over the last year,” said Coach Uhrig of his two junior post players. “I feel this will force teams to respect us both inside and out. This balance should make us better offensively and make it tougher for opponents to defend us.”

The list of weapons does not stop there for Huntington. Bobby Sams and Zach Riley, both seniors, can play multiple positions and both do a great job on-ball defensively. Sams is a third-year varsity player that at 6-1 can use his strength and quickness to guard all five positions on the floor. Riley dominates the hustle categories on a nightly basis, constantly winning extra possessions for the Huntsmen. David Collins and Nick Wooten give the Huntsmen help off the bench in the post, while a sharp-shooter in Craig Magill and a solid defender in Jason Willett do the same on the perimeter.

In the non-league, Huntington will play a trio of good D-II schools in Circleville, Vinton County, and Waverly. The Huntsmen will also play Western, Lynchburg-Clay, and Lucasville Valley.

“The league is going to be really balanced this year and our non-league schedule presents some nice challenges as well,” said Coach Uhrig. “I think some of our early games will help us for the stretch run in the league as well as the tournament.”

The other interesting scheduling note is for SVC fans that consider Huntington and Zane Trace the top two teams to beat, because the Huntsmen welcome ZT in the season’s conference opener on Friday, November 30th.

“All the league games – especially the home game – are crucial,” said Uhrig. “I don’t think that game wins or loses the league, but it is obviously a key game for us early in the year.”

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