Shenandoah vr. Rushville 2-6-2021
Varsity boys’ basketball games come at all times these days. Some are on Tuesday, Thursdays, I think there was a game on a Wednesday. Traditionally Friday and Saturday evenings are held for the hardwoods but today, tipoff for the game was around 1:30 p.m. What is the world coming to? To attend, I postponed my luncheon date with my grandchildren to a dinner date this evening. What a time we will have. I sat at the scorers table listening to the LOUD music before tipoff which surprisingly Shenandoah’s 6’6” Kameron Graddy lost. Anyway, soft or silence fits me well. I recall the time my Shenandoah football coach yelled at me in practice because I dropped a pass. Back in 1972 I informed him I was not deaf, and he did not have to yell at me. That statement went over like a lead balloon.
Shenandoah jumped to a 5-0 lead compliments of Andrew Bennett nailing a three from the top of the key. Jakeb Kinsey fed Kameron Graddy low in the post, two quick dribbles and a strong move to the bucket Graddy scored. Surprisingly, Rushville 1-13, scored seven unanswered points to take the lead with the help of three misses in a row from the Raiders. I was not concerned because basketball games are not four minutes long and Shenandoah historically seems to get stronger as the game progresses. Kinsey tied the score 7-7 with a nice twisting layup. Underneath Graddy had three shots, but was unable to cash in, even though he was crashing the boards and muscled down his misses. The Raiders went down another bucket. Kaden McCollough again fed the ball low in the post to Graddy who promptly turned around and connected on a left-handed layup. Andrew Bennett was instrumental in the last two buckets of the quarter. First, he stole the ball and forwarded the ball to Michael Howard for the fourth layup in this frame. Bennett followed up with a nice jumper to put the Raiders up 13-12.
No one enjoys getting a foul called on them and each player responds differently. Some grumble, others roll their eyes, others gasp, often a player will look to the coaches or perhaps one will put their arms to their side and kick at the floor while some briefly argue. Bennett is unique in his own way after being called for infractions. Normally he will glance towards the referee, then walks away with head held high. For example, Bennett stole the ball, was heading for layup when the opposing player who had chased him down, cut in front of him and collided, never having positioned himself. Looked like blocking for sure but Bennett was called for the charge. He just builds a bridge and moves forward.
Next time down court Bennett found McCollough open, he whistled the ball to him for a trey putting the Raiders up 16-15. Rushville lost control of a rebound which gave the ball underneath the bucket to Shenandoah. Like chess moves and picks, Graddy received the ball for a quick layup underneath. Jasper Campbell scored four points tonight, one can read that statistic in any box score. What one will not read are his rebounds, picks and screens he constantly sets. McCollough worked off Campbells perfect screen and nailed a jumper to give Shenandoah a lead of 20-16. Rushville took the lead back by scoring five straight. Pesky Lions. Campbell gave the Raiders the lead for good, 22-21, when he pulled down a Howard miscue and laid it in. Kinsey scored the next eight with two consecutive layups a free throw and trey. The first bucket was against the grain, as the action seemed to be moving to his right Kinsey suddenly cut to his left and flipped it in with his left hand. Kinsey followed with a faster than fast layup before the defense could jell. It is one thing to run fast but to run, dribble and maneuver your body in an acrobatic way and score is impressive. Shenandoah’s final bucket came when Campbell miss his layup on the right side of the bucket, but his momentum carried him to haul in the rebound on the
left side. Though he could have attempted another layup he saw Kinsey all alone at the top of the key and fired the ball to him. Kinsey took one step back then delivered a three for a 30-21 lead at the half.
Before the game I had a chance to sit down and chew the fat with David “Seagull’ Chambless and Kim Choate. David remembers my family when I was growing up in Middletown. He asked about my eldest sister Margie which I thought was kind. I inquired the names of the other maintenance personal Molly Wilson and Amy Steven were mentioned. Thanks, friends, for the job you do. My Dad always told me to leave a place cleaner than I found it. Let me encourage my readers to take your trash and recycle it or at lease pitch it in the nearest trash can. “Go, go, go Raiders!” Mr. Goff said. Third quarter starting.
Bennett wasted no time to get an assist as he found McCollough open in the southwest corner for three. The Raiders had three possessions in a row and came up empty handed. Kinsey stopped the lull when he worked inside for a short turn around jumper to bump the lead to nine 35-26. With 4:31 left Graddy scored two of his fourteen with another inside move in the low post. On defense Graddy was called for a push off, his third. To me it appeared the smaller Lion collided into Graddy and bounced off. Moving on, Howard scored on a fastbreak layup after he stole the ball then Kinsey, getting a rebound, pushed the ball up court for another bucket and a 41-29 lead. Kinsey led all Raiders with eighteen points. Ahead by ten Shenandoah decided to work for the last shot. With eight seconds remaining McCollough worked inside the lane drawing the defense to himself, much like a killdeer feigns an injury to draw predators away from their nest. Running the play to perfection, Campbell stayed in the nest and received a perfect bounce pass and converted an easy bucket. Raiders 43 Rushville 31. Speaking of Campbell, after the game I met Sydney Case who recognized me from a year ago. Turns out we have two common friends, Royce Hammel from Anderson and Campbell, her beau. For the game Bennett had seven assist and twelve points while McCollough chalked up six and added eight points. Howard pulled down eight rebounds and contributed ten points. Unselfish play and determination equal success.
Shenandoah’s experience and constant fastbreak style finally took its toll on the visitors. Credit Rushville as they were pesky all evening, but the fourth period finished them off and were outscored 23-8. To open the fourth, McCullough retrieved Bennett’s miss and fired the ball right back to him and this time Bennett dropped the shot upping the lead to 45-31. For the quarter, the running Raiders scorched the nets with seven layups. On one particular fastbreak one could see a possible dunk was on the horizon. Bennett and Graddy were zeroing in on the bucket as they blitzed downcourt. It turned out to be an almost dunk by Graddy who is 6’6”. In speaking with Graddy about this play after the game, his brother-in-law, Dylan, hearing our conversation, added Kameron needed to jump more than four inches to get a dunk. Maybe that is the reason Shenandoah lost the opening center jump. In the middle of it raining layups from all sides and scoring at will, Rushville’s coached called time and chastised his team for failing to even pursue the fastbreak. (lack of hustle) The Raiders lead ballooned to thirty, 64-34 and the last of the starters was pulled. The final score was 66-39 as the Blue and Gold moved to 16-3 and probably is still ranked #2 in Class 2A.