Shenandoah vr. Covenant Christian Warriors 3-13-2021
After last year’s Covid19 cancellation it was good to see basketball would be played in March. Making it even sweeter is our beloved Shenandoah Raiders are still playing after winning their fifth straight sectional at home last week. Quite impressive to say the least, one could call these last five years a dynasty…much like the Yankees. A few minutes before tipoff Shenandoah ceased doing their warmups, had a seat then checked out their competition. I had never heard of Covenant Christian from Indianapolis, but they did bring a 22-4 record to the table and like Shenandoah they bumped up their schedule by playing four 4A schools. Tipoff is ready and the Raiders controlled the toss.
Jakeb Kinsey started the Raider scoring when he went coast to coast for the first of twenty Shenandoah layups for the game. Kaden McCollough had the hot hand early as he connected for three field goals. Sandwiched between McCollough’s first two buckets Kinsey found Kameron Graddy low in the post who turned around and kissed it off the glass with his left hand. McCollough gave the Raiders their first but brief lead 10-8, by connecting from sixteen feet. The Warriors responded with a three, then Andrew Bennett countered with his own trey to regain the lead 13-11 but Covenant had an answer of their own, as they sank their fourth trey of the period to take the lead after one 13-14. It appeared the Raiders were timid and they committed three turnovers, which did not help.
I wonder if there is a song called Nothing but Net, surprisingly there is. Anyway, Bennett’s shot from afar hit nothing but net, which has a sweeter sound than the music. The Warriors tied the game seconds later but, in a flash, Kinsey drove inside and what looked like a set play when it appeared, passed the ball off the glass to Graddy who was waiting on the other side of the bucket. Graddy ended up with a three-point play for a 19-16 lead for Shenandoah. From this point on, the dismantling commenced as the running Raiders never looked back. Michael Howard scored the next five points with a three from the corner then was fouled beyond the arc and settled for two freebies to give his team a 24-19 lead. Bennett had an open shot inside the arc but quickly dribbled beyond the line, reset himself and Boom Baby! With 3:19 left Kinsey upped the lead to ten 29-19 by hitting a couple foul shots. Slow but surely Shenandoah was dissecting the Warriors who called a timeout. On a side note during the break Josh MacIntyre and a referee were having a good laugh. Graddy, the tallest player on the court, dominated the inside play thus far and was just getting warmed up for the second half after he again put back a missed shot. Jasper Campbell had an open look but gave the ball to Kinsey for a layup and the Raiders went to the lockers ahead 33-26 because the Warriors connected for their sixth trey before the buzzer sounded. Also, helping the cause was the defensive effort Kinsey had on the Warriors leading scorer Trey Flatt (avg.17 ppg) by holding him to five points.
Shenandoah blew the game wide open in the third by exploding for twenty-five points. Graddy began the blitzkrieg with a reverse layup, Howard connected for a three from the corner and again McCollough made a great bounce pass to an awaiting Graddy for two more, Shenandoah up 40-32. Kinsey patiently waited for the lane to clear to make his move, then
darted inside as his layup just barely rolled in which was the beginning of a 16-6 run. McCollough launched one from four feet behind the line to make it 45-32. Seconds later Flatt their gritty scorer committed his third foul of the quarter, fourth total, sending him to the bench. This really incensed some of the brethren to my right as one guy in particular had one adjective for the referee, “Horrible” to the umpteenth power while a lady screamed in some high octaves, “Just put on a blue jersey why don’t you?” Back to play, Graddy scored on another offensive rebound off of a Campbell miss. McCollough in a shooting grove since he scored his one thousand point in the sectional final put the Raiders up fourteen with another three. Shenandoah was eight for fifteen in three-point shooting for the game. Back in football mode Bennett caught a full court pass for a layup. Tanner Goff garnered a rebound which led to another nothing but net Bennett trey adding to his seventeen points this afternoon and a twenty-point lead 58-38 heading into the final eight minutes.
I need to close this article out since Dandy Don Meredith would begin to sing…”Turn out the lights, the party is over.” My older generational readers will understand. Shenandoah connected for nine layups throughout the fourth stanza. Graddy was involved in five of the scores via assist or scoring himself. For the night Graddy owned the boards with fourteen, eight were offensive and dished out five assist while scoring seventeen points. While Shenandoah was at the line hitting free-throws, twelve of fifteen for the game, Bennett happened to be near the Heritage student section. He appeared to be listening to them give him grief over something, but his respond was priceless…he pointed at the scoreboard and walked away…nuff said. Howard again mirrored his first quarter antics by scoring five straight to give him fifteen for his effort. McCollough finished the game with sixteen points and five assist. Before one could say, Quick as a Cat, Kinsey started his move to the bucket from half court for a layup to finish with a baker’s dozen and seven assist. Goff hit the books for his only bucket with a baseline drive. Jasper Campbell ended the scoring for the Raiders after he sank two free-throws. Shenandoah won going away 82-52 and stand 25-3.
A few comments from Coach McCollough included many positives and one concern. He believed the team handled the pressure well and rebounded extremely well, they did by a margin of 30-6. This game is another step towards our goal then added two games in a day is tough and he hoped the players would have enough legs for tonight.