Doesn’t that Thanksgiving turkey get better every year?
Maybe that comes with age or maybe I just simply look forward to my momma’s home-cooked dressing, dinner rolls and noodles for too long each year, but the fact remains that there was no detaching me from my plate this past Thursday.
While I was shoving a third helping of dessert down my gullet, I started to think of my weekend plans: a full slate of area basketball action. That, in turn, made me reflect on the start of the girls’ season and who’s had the hot hand to open 2015-16.
This week’s “10 to Comprehend” gives me the chance to do something else but eat while it also throws the limelight onto area girls basketball players who have lit up the scoreboard so far.
- It could be argued that no area basketball player has enjoyed a hotter start than that of Huntington’s Ariel Sams. The senior guard started her season by breaking a school record for three-pointers in a single game with seven in a rout of Northwest. In that contest, Sams scored 37 — 18 in the first quarter alone and more than half of the Hunstmen’s total of 62. She followed that up by dropping 20 points in a loss to Western. Sams will enter this week averaging 24 points per game while closing in on 1,000 career points with the chance to pass Molly Mahaffey (139) for second all-time in Ross County history on the career three-pointers list.
- Chillicothe’s Osh Brown broke a school record last season with 345 rebounds, just 20 shy of Huntington’s Terri Haines’ county record of 365. This season, in just three games, Brown has brought down 38 rebounds and has been a machine inside for the Cavaliers. Teamed up with sophomore Shawnee Smith, Brown has powered Chillicothe to wins against Logan Elm and Hillsboro in the South Central Ohio League opener. Last year, the 5-foot-11 center averaged nearly 14 boards per game. This year? The sky is the limit.
- Zane Trace’s girls will need to find scoring from someone other than Katie Unger this season. So far, the answer to that problem has been junior Morgan Arledge. While the Pioneers have been involved in two nail biters — a 49-40 loss to Waverly and a 40-37 loss to Berne Union — Arledge has proven she can score when the given the ball in the right spots on the floor. Her jumper looks to be developed, and if she can drive to the basket, the Pioneers might just have a second viable scoring option on their hands.
- It’s no surprise that Kara Blanton crashed the boards hard in her first game this year — a 44-41 win against Whiteoak. However, it might be a surprise to some that Blanton also looked like the go-to scorer for the ‘Streaks. That’s a sight for sore eyes if you’re asking Piketon fans. After 1,000 point scorer Ashlee Lawhorn graduated a year ago, someone has to fill her shoes. It’s still very early, but Blanton’s output of 12 points and 10 rebounds in last week’s win — both of which led the team — propels her to the front of the candidate list.
- We all know of 2014-15 Co-Scioto Valley Conference Player of the Year Ella Skeens at Southeastern. However, her partner in crime isn’t too bad, either. Junior Audrie Wheeler could be a top scoring option on any SVC team, including her own this season. During her sophomore campaign, Wheeler scored a total of 365 points and brought down 146 rebounds — good for averages of 15.2 and 6.1. In the Panthers’ season-opening loss to Lynchburg-Clay, Wheeler looked like the only scorer, pouring in 16 points to lead the team. As opposing defenses key on Skeens, Wheeler could be the main beneficiary.
- The Westfall Mustangs are considered the favorite to win the SVC this season — a title that would be the team’s second in a row. If they’re going to meet those expectations, senior Regan Stonerock will have to continue to do what’s she’s been doing. In two contests so far, Stonerock has been a force, scoring 35 points and grabbing 18 rebounds. Those numbers provide higher averages than her 10.3 PPG and 8.1 RPG a season ago. As long as OJ Mathes and Kelsie Robinson are on the court as well, she’ll continue the pace she’s on.
- Richard Scott already has the Adena Warriors looking like a different team this season. Adena has surpassed last year’s win total — albeit, last year’s win total was 0 — and has both Alexis Putnam and Taylor Rawlings playing to their full potential. The duo have combined for 69 of the team’s total of 107 points alongside 68 rebounds. Don’t blink. The Warriors could quite possibly give opponents problems this year.
- Performance of the Week: Since Ariel Sams’ record breaking 37-point outing already was discussed, I’ll go with Chillicothe’s Shawnee Smith here. Smith scored 32 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a season-opening win over Logan Elm. Those types of numbers will continue to come along as Smith develops as a player.
- SVC Boys Player of the Year Watch: This early in the season, it’s a tall task to pick a Player of the Year. But my preseason pick was Unioto’s Cole Cottrill. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. After Cottrill comes Zane Trace’s Pierce Mowery and Paint Valley’s Dylan Swingle.
- SVC Girls Player of the Year Watch: Again, it’s early in the season. Having said that, I’ve also watched six of the eight SVC teams compete already. From what I’ve witnessed, Westfall’s Regan Stonerock has to be number one followed by Huntington’s Ariel Sams and Southeastern’s Ella Skeens — purely based on last year’s title so far.
Boys Basketball: Unioto (1-0), Zane Trace (1-0), Chillicothe (0-1), Paint Valley (0-1), Westfall (0-0), Adena (0-1), Piketon (0-1), Waverly (0-0), Southeastern (0-1), Huntington (0-1)
Girls Basketball: Chillicothe (2-1), Westfall (1-1), Waverly (2-0), Southeastern (0-1), Piketon (1-0), Huntington (2-1), Zane Trace (0-2), Adena (1-2), Unioto (0-2), Paint Valley (0-2)