EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the ninth in a series of articles on the second annual Ohio Valley Hoops Classic, Nov. 27-28 at Wilmington College’s Fred Raizk Arena. Twenty teams from around the area will converge on the WC campus to compete in this year’s event.
Clinton-Massie vs Leesburg Fairfield 1 p.m. Saturday
The Clinton-Massie boys basketball team has become accustomed to getting a late start due to a prolonged football season.
This year is no different as the Massie football team advanced to last Friday’s regional championship game before losing 10-3 in overtime to Bishop Fenwick.
Nonetheless, coach Dustin Eads is excited about playing. “We are excited to play in the OVHC again this year. It is a great way for us to start the season with an exciting atmosphere,” said Eads.
And, while several Falcon roundballers will have only a few days of practice under their belts when they hit the Hermann Court floor at 1 p.m. Saturday, a good nucleus of players have been at it since Oct. 30.
“We will be learning as we go and I know the players that have been in the gym since October 30 are ready because they have been working hard every day to prepare for the season and will help lead those players who just stepped into the gym,” explained the Falcon head man.
Eads returns three players with significant varsity experience from last year’s 9-14 squad. Hunter Fentress, a 6-2 senior (quarterback of the football team) was a starter last year. Fellow football teammate Trey Utrecht (6-1 sophomore) played major minutes on last year’s varsity as did three-point sharpshooter Noah Greathouse (6-1 junior).
Coach Everett Snyder’s Fairfield Lions finished with an identical 9-14 record. However, the Lions return four starters off that team, led by 6-1” guard Ethan Putman who averaged 15 points per game last season. Three juniors, who all started as sophomores, also are back. They are 6-1 forward Wyatt Evans, and a pair of 5-9 guards in Clay Walker and Jensen Dalton.
Fairfield relies heavily on its 3-point shooting and Eads knows his Falcons will have to contain that in order to win. “Fairfield is a team that likes to shoot a lot of 3s, so we are going to have to be disciplined in boxing out to make sure we come up with the long rebounds,” said the Falcon boss.
While Snyder does not know a lot about his opponent, he expects the Falcons to be physical.
“We really don’t know a lot about them. However, we know about their football team and that they have a lot of those guys on the basketball team, so we expect them to be tough and physical,” said the Fairfield head man.
If played later in the year, Massie would likely be a strong favorite against Fairfield. But, with only a few days of practice for several of its main-line players, the Falcons will have to rely on some younger guys to step up a bit in this game. The Falcons will attempt to use their strength and physicality to offset the scoring ability of Leesburg’s perimeter players. It should be a good matchup.