KINNIKINNICK – The streak continues for the Unioto Shermans.
Unioto started out on fire and kept the flame lit for 32 sonsecutive minutes Friday night as they soundly handled Zane Trace, 73-34.
The win for Unioto (2-0, 1-0 Scioto Valley Conference) extends their regular season winning streak to a grand total of 37.
“Our guys worked hard all week in practice,” Unioto coach Matt Hoops said. “They had the right frame of mind to start the game. Anytime you’re on the road, you have to be a little more focused than normal and I thought we were definitely ready to go from the start. We came out, attacked early and put ourselves in a good position.”
The Shermans came out firing, opening the game with an 11-0 run — eight of those points coming via sophomore Brandon Kennedy — before a Quintin Davidson 3-pointer ended the run.
After four more Sherman points, Zane Trace (1-1, 0-1 SVC) went on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 15-9. Unioto ended the quarter with four more, making it 19-9.
The second was much of the same.
Zane Trace managed to cut the lead to 15-13 but that was as close as they got the rest of the night.
Instead of Kennedy having the hot hand, he passed it over to Casey White, who in return went on a personal 8-0 run to extend Unioto’s lead to 27-13.
“Casey battled a little bit of an ankle injury during the preseason, but he’s a really good player,” Hoops said. “The last two weeks have really been his first two weeks at full contact. We trusted him. He has a great attitude, stayed within the game and came mentally ready off the bench and knocked down some good shots.”
Senior Erique Hosley joined the fray as he imposed his will on the glass, grabbing 10 first half rebounds, creating second chance shots for the Shermans. Those opportunities allowed Unioto to march into halftime with a 33-21 lead.
“Erique is a security blanket for us, he covers up a lot of mistakes,” Hoops said. “You can always count on him while he’s in the game. He’s always going to play hard and be around the basketball. He did a great job of controlling the glass, especially in the second quarter with Isaac (Wheeler) in foul trouble and he responded like a senior should.”
Unioto was called for a technical foul going into the break after a no call on a last second heave to the basket resulted in some words between both benches.
Senior Trey Rittenhouse made one of two free throws to open up the third quarter.
That was the only point Zane Trace scored in the entire eight minute period.
The Shermans clamped down defensively and swarmed the Pioneers, giving them no room to breathe while using their size advantage and shooting prowess to score the next 21 points to end the quarter leading 54-22.
Nothing changed in the fourth as Unioto outscored Zane Trace 19-12 and cruised to its 28th straight conference win.
The Shermans were led by Kennedy, White, Hosley and Wheeler, who all scored 11 points a piece. Hosley collected 18 rebounds and Wheeler grabbed six boards.
For Zane Trace, who was without standout Pierce Mowery after he underwent surgery and will miss two weeks, Davidson and Rittenhouse each had nine points as Isaac Beam added eight and eight rebounds.
Unioto will look to extend its streak as they host Huntington Saturday night. Zane Trace will also be back in action Saturday, traveling to Paint Valley.
“It was another unselfish team effort tonight,” Hoops said. “I’ve said this for a couple years now that we have a lot of talent and that we can be a really strong team as long as no one cares who gets the credit. New challenge tomorrow, Huntington is a very scrappy team, they always have been. They’re going to play as hard as they possibly can and we have to match their intensity and stay focused for 32 minutes.”