Shenandoah vr. Lapel 2-12-2021
Senior night is always an emotional event. The senior trainers, cheerleaders and players were all recognized prior to tipoff with their parents. This game was a must win because nobody wants to chalk up and “L” on such a special occasion. Todd Salkoski introduced each person and read a petite bio of questions answered beforehand. Paraphrased, three of the players added the best memory of the season still ‘remains to be experienced.’ I surmise they are looking towards a deep and lofty run into the state tournament. Another senior, Kameron Graddy, was credited with saying… young people make mistakes, learn from them and move forward. Sounds like internal growth has been birthed. Our #2 Raiders moved to 18-3 after putting on a clinic of how a fastbreak should be employed and released their team book entitled, The Art of Layups and Unselfish Play.
I quickly feathered through my notes and circled all the layups for the evening. My total tallied thirty-one. This also included the dunk by…more about that wonderful sequence later. Not included in the sum are free throws converted after the bunny buckets and freebies made because Shenandoah was fouled in the act of shooting a layup. The first quarter alone was the best played eight minutes of the season thus far. My goodness, the score at the end of one was 26-3. To say the least this squad was impressive, dominating and a well oil machine which was clicking on all cylinders. This jaw dropping awe inspiring effort in the opening act, needs to be patented.
Shenandoah converted eight layups in the first frame. They rained in from the left, down the middle or right side. If one reached down for some popcorn or guzzled down a swig of pop, you probably missed a bucket. All toll Graddy and Michael Howard had two layups apiece, Andrew Bennett totaled three and Jakeb Kinsey had one and also played with a heavy heart as his Grandmother crossed over into eternity earlier in the day. Condolences and prayers to the entire Shelton / Kinsey clan are extended. Lapel also found out how lightning quick Shenandoah really is. Bennett’s steal made it 6-0, Graddy’s steal extended the lead to 8-0 with two free throws and Kinsey made it 10-0 with his theft all toll eleven thefts for the night. Later Bennett had smooth sailing after he stole the ball to crank up the deficit 23-3. As the seconds clicked down, the student section cheer block counted off, “eight, seven, six… Kinsey found Howard open in the corner for a three as the horn sounded. Raiders up 26-3. Shenandoah could do no wrong, Lapel was dazed.
In the second quarter the Raiders scored nine buckets, eight were layups if anyone was wondering. Kinsey drove the baseline for the first, then Graddy scored two more of sixteen points for the night from underneath. Taking a pass Bennett just redirected the ball to Graddy for another score. Then Kaden McCollough scored two of his nine points grabbing a Graddy miss and banked it in. Bennett bumped the score to 36-8 after he stole the ball at half court and took it home. The Johnny Hustle Award, if there is such a critter, goes to Tanner Goff. Around the 4:27 mark a ball was headed out of bounds towards the Raider bench. Goff raced over, put himself horizontal with the floor, reached out and extended his hand to slap the ball to
Bennett. Goff stopped just short of the bench, meanwhile Bennett instinctively turned around and lofted the ball to Howard who caught it in full stride, took a couple steps then two hand slammed the ball home to finish the electrifying play. Steve Myers, during halftime, pointed out to me the ball never touched the floor. It was just slap, pass and dunk. Wow, and a thirty-point lead 38-8. Afterwards Graddy gave it up to Bennett who connected for a three from the northwest corner. For the night, Bennett topped all scorers with twenty-four points, twelve points coming from four treys and also chimed in with seven assists. Seems to me, he is back one hundred percent from his football injury. McCollough combined with Kinsey for a perfect give and go to close out the first half 46-13. Kinsey ended up with eighteen points and six assists.
When the second half started, I was still chatting with Steve Myers. Jokingly, Steve told me I had better get to my seat because I would miss citing twenty points. My goodness, before I could walk the fifteen feet and grab my notes, Howard, who totaled nineteen this evening and Bennett had both scored via layups. Even Marla Campbell asked me who had scored while she rushed to her seat grabbing her personal scoring chart. Shenandoah would eventually register ten layups for the quarter. I was aghast when the Raiders missed on three consecutive possessions and Lapel capitalized by scoring six unanswered points cutting into the Raider lead 54-19. The following: Howard, Graddy, Kinsey, McCollough and Bennett all contributed points and unselfish play which produced an astonishing twenty-eight points in the third quarter. Bennett was sizzling as he had ten of the sum total. McCollough notched one more assist when he fed Bennett for a three at the gun. The Raiders were up 74-29 at the end of three periods.
Shenandoah mirrored the first quarter with four more thefts in the fourth quarter. Bennett brought multiple fans and to their feet after he stole the ball, using some slight of hands he flipped it behind his back to McCollough for a nice layup. Two minutes later, McCollough fed Jasper Campbell for his eighth assist as Campbell made a nice fake and scored, on yes another layup making the score 88-34.
Goff ended up with four points but that does not add up the intensity he brought to the game. Finally, Lucas Mills was called for a foul, as he was mixing it up aggressively with a Lapel player, someone behind me commented, “He is in the books.” So I made a note and now I believe it is time to close the book on this game. The Raiders won 92-35.
Ed Breeden, Courtside from Shenandoah High School