Vinton County’s defensive pressure forced Athens into 14 first-quarter turnovers, which allowed for the Vikings offense to take center stage. Senior G Ryans Stewart scored a game-high 26 points including a school-record eight triples in what turned out to be a 98-40 victory for the Vikings.
Shayne Combs has more.
McARTHUR – Vinton County’s defensive pressure forced Athens into 14 first-quarter turnovers, which allowed for the Vikings offense to take center stage.
The maroon and white got more than enough offensive punch from senior shooting guard Ryan Stewart. Stewart scored 17 of his game-high 26 points in the first eight minutes, a stretch that included five of his school-record eight triples in what turned out to be a 98-40 victory for the Vikings.
The Vikings entered the second quarter up 32-10 and went to the half up 57-22. Vinton County continued to roll after the intermission as several Vikings got into the act. Complementing Stewart’s hot perimeter shooting was Vinton County’s All-Ohioan post presence in Dustin Guthrie. Guthrie, a senior, filled the stat sheet scoring 21 points, grabbing 16 boards, and dishing out 5 assists in just 21 minutes of action.
“Teams are going to key on Dustin (Guthrie),” said Vinton County head coach Matt Combs. “It obviously helps when we get offense from different people, and tonight Ryan (Stewart) provided that for us. This is a really unselfish group that gets along great, and it seems like someone different is always providing us with a spark.”
Vinton County got a double-digit effort from senior guard Andrew Eberts. Eberts scored 12 points and recorded 4 assists. The Vikings also continue to get solid play from their point guard Andy Grillo. The sophomore floor general had seven assists and six steals while only turning the ball over twice.
The Vikings flirted with the century mark late in the game as they were able to get some key minutes for young guys such as Dylan Guthrie, Dustin’s brother who scored eight points in the fourth quarter.
“The kids wanted to score 100, but we wanted to make sure we did it the right way,” said Coach Combs. “We didn’t want to continue to extend our pressure. We wanted to just play solid half court defense and continue to play hard. If the 100 happened, then that’s fine, but if not that’s okay too. I was happy some of the younger guys were able to get some minutes.”
Athens (0-3) was led in scoring by Cameron Tope, Matt Witten, and Steven Eberts. All three scored seven points. Athens will return to action this weekend against Marietta and West Muskingum.
The win improves Vinton County to 5-0 on the season, and extends the Vikings regular-season winning streak to 30 straight games. This streak will face a serious challenge this weekend when Vinton County travels to Belpre Friday night before turning around and playing an afternoon affair with undefeated Huntington at the Convo in Athens.
“We just have to continue to get better,” said Coach Combs when asked about his upcoming schedule. “This team continues to show a great attitude. We are going to face some adversity as the season goes on and when that happens it will be important that we stick together and continue to work hard.”
In other action around the southeast Tuesday night, Greenfield McClain beat Washington Court House 51-43 in a key SCOL match-up. Jackson beat Unioto 58-55, Rock Hill beat Waverly 42-39, and it was Adena getting a big non-conference win over Logan Elm 36-35.
Wheelersburg rebounded from a tough, two-loss weekend with a 63-52 win over Ironton and Logan beat Fairfield Union 50-40. Eastern Brown needed overtime to beat Hillsboro 60-58 and in Southern Hills League action it was North Adams beating Lynchburg-Clay 84-64 and Whiteoak holding off Peebles 51-48.