tied 8-8 after five minutes Friday, but then the Vinton County offense
exploded over the next quarter-and-a-half of play. Ryan Stewart, Dustin
Guthrie and Andrew Eberts all connected from beyond the arc to spark
what would eventually be a 23-2 run and from there, the rout was on. VC
defeated Belpre 67-43 to inch that much closer to a fourth TVC title in
A Belpre field goal from 6-5 sophomore Reggie Sims momentarily stopped the bleeding; trimming the Viking lead to 31-12, but shortly after, Vinton County’s “whiteout” crowd erupted again when Dustin Guthrie became only the third Vinton County player in history to join the 1,000 point mark.
“Obviously, Dustin is a great player, but he is an even better person,” VC head coach Matt Combs said of his All-Ohioan post player. “Here is a kid that is the reigning player-of-the-year in the conference and he did not miss a single thing all summer. He has a great attitude, and he is a great leader.”
The 6-5 senior star joined the club on a transition bucket midway through the second quarter. The bucket sparked yet another 11-0 run and eventually the teams went to intermission with Vinton County leading 44-14.
“I really felt like our crowd played a big role in tonight’s game,” Combs said. “We are so fortunate here at Vinton County to get great community support, and our athletic boosters worked extremely hard this week in organizing the whiteout. The atmosphere was electric in the early going, and I thought our kids really fed off of that.”
Guthrie ended with 21 points and 7 rebounds in just three quarters of action. Vinton County also got 12 points – all from beyond the arc – from Ryan Stewart as well as nine from junior Jake Prater. Sophomore point-guard Andy Grillo dished out six assists while only turning it over once, and Grillo’s classmate Ethan Allen helped spark VC’s first half run with five steals and a pair of offensive rebounds.
“Ethan is definitely a dangerous defender,” said Combs when asked about the spark his team received from his athletic sophomore. “Ethan is long, quick, and has great instincts. He plays extremely hard, and he can really provide our defense a great spark.”
The win moves Vinton County to 14-1 overall and 7-0 in the TVC. The Vikings are at Philo Saturday night before entering Sunday afternoon’s sectional draw.
For Belpre, the loss drops the Golden Eagles to 9-8 overall and 5-2 in conference play. Belpre had two guys in double-figures as freshman Tyler Watkins and junior Scott Loyland ended with 12 and 10, respectively. The black and orange returns home next Friday night for another TVC game against Nelsonville-York. Belpre will then remain home for its Parents Night on Saturday when the Eagles welcome Eastern-Reedsville.
Before the game Friday night, Vinton County inducted three new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame. Andy Booth, Keith Bullock, and Alice Taylor were all honored in a pre-game ceremony and each can be heard on this week’s edition of Vikings Round Ball Hour, which can be heard on 98.7 FM each Sunday evening at 7:00 P.M.
In other key games around the southeast it was Chillicothe hanging on to beat Zanesville in overtime 59-58. In the SVC, Huntington got 21 points from Josh Kellough to beat Piketon 61-45 to keep its two game advantage over Adena who kept pace with an 88-65 win over Paint Valley on the strength of 31 points from junior Clay Roll. This marks the third straight game Roll has topped the 30-point mark.
Madison Plains beat Greenfield McClain 44-36 in a key SCOL game, Wheelersburg and Oak Hill each won to remain tied in the SOC, and Canal Winchester beat Circleville 74-55 to remain unbeaten in the Mid-State League.