Southeastern which makes the annual match-up a highly
anticipated game. This year’s clash between the defending Tri
Valley and Scioto Valley Conference champions was no different. A big second
quarter from VC senior Dustin Guthrie
along with a 3-point onslaught from Ryan Stewart in the second half
paved the way for a 70-44 Vinton County victory.
CHILLICOTHE – Only about 20 miles of Route 50 separate Vinton County and Southeastern which makes the annual non-conference match-up a highly anticipated game.
This year’s clash between the defending Tri Valley Conference and Scioto Valley Conference champions took place at the Larry Jordan Gymnasium and the legendary Southeastern coach got a great effort from his Panthers in the first half. But a big second quarter from Vinton County’s All-Ohioan post presence Dustin Guthrie along with a 3-point onslaught from Ryan Stewart in the second half paved the way for a 70-44 Vinton County victory.
Southeastern outworked Vinton County on the glass in the early going collecting 11 first half offensive boards; however, the Panthers were unable to convert shooting a dismal 6-for-32 from the floor in half number one leaving the door open for the Vikings to overcome their slow start and get their offense rolling.
“The kids played extremely hard tonight, but we just cannot find a way to score the basketball,” said Southeastern assistant coach Kyle Uhrig who is in his third year on Coach Jordan’s staff. “I do not think you doubt the effort at all. In fact, when you look at us defensively, we have held our own against some really good teams, but our inability to score has just put too much pressure on defense.”
Vinton County’s first half scoring was done mainly by Guthrie. The 6-5 senior connected on six of his 10 first half field goal attempts to score 14 of his 18 points before the intermission. After the break, Southeastern was able to quiet Guthrie inside, but that is when the Viking three-point shooters got it going. Ryan Stewart, a senior that just set a school-record last week knocking down eight triples in a game against Athens, connected on three triples in the third period and three more in the fourth to help blow the game wide open for the Vikings. Stewart ended with a game-high 20 points while VC’s other shooting guard Andrew Eberts scored 11 points, including three triples of his own.
Another big part of Vinton County’s balanced offensive attack continues to be the play of sophomore point-guard Andy Grillo. The Viking floor general scored only two points but dished out eight assists, grabbed four rebounds, and recorded four steals.
“We have a very unselfish group,” said Vinton County head coach Matt Combs. “We try to establish good inside-out balance, and I thought we were able to first establish Dustin (Guthrie) in the first half which led to some better perimeter opportunities for Ryan (Stewart) and Andrew (Eberts) in the second half.”
Southeastern did get some good second half point guard play of its own from senior Kyle Prater. Prater handed out six of his eight assists in the second half helping cut the VC lead to 16 at one point early in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers would get no closer as the Vikings answered with a quick 8-0 run to push the lead back over 20 to crush any hopes of a Southeastern comeback.
“Kyle (Prater) made some good decisions in the second half which helped us get some different people involved in the offense,” said Coach Uhrig. “That is encouraging and it is hopefully something we can build on offensively as we move forward the rest of the year.”
The loss drops Southeastern to 1-9 and the Panthers will be off throughout the remainder of the holiday season as they return to action at Westfall on January 4th. In the losing effort, Southeastern only had one player in double-figures with Kevin Dunn scoring 12. Ronnie Guysinger also had a solid game scoring seven points and grabbing six rebounds, five of which were offensive boards.
The win keeps Vinton County perfect at 8-0 which sets up a battle of unbeatens next Friday night when Huntington, who hammered Western Latham Saturday night 90-47 to move to 8-0 as well, travels to Vinton County to makeup a game that was originally scheduled to be played at the Convo in Athens but was postponed due to weather. In the win over Western, Josh Kellough scored the first nine points of the game to eclipse the 1,000 career point mark, but after that it was twin brother Justin who stole the show scoring a career-high 36 points to lead the Huntsmen.
“We need a few days away from the gym,” said Coach Combs. “This was our first back-to-back weekend and I just do not feel like we played with much energy. We did not shoot the ball very consistently throughout the weekend, and we obviously did not do a good job on the boards tonight in the first half. We will regroup a little bit and get back after it after the holiday and try to get ready for what we know will be a very difficult test next Friday.”
In other action around the southeast, it was Chillicothe getting 29 points from Ray Chambers and 24 more from Anthony Hitchens to beat North College Hill 83-70. The Chillicothe girls were also victorious Saturday night as the Lady Cavs beat Jackson 47-20.
Continuing a look at boys’ action, it was North Adams and Canal Winchester recording blowout wins against Portsmouth West and Logan Elm, respectively. In the SCOL Washington Court House held off Hillsboro 61-57, Miami Trace beat Clinton Massie 64-59, and in a bit of a shocker, it was McClain falling to Madison Plains 63-54.