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Raiders clinch conference tie by pulling away from Royals

By RON GREESON - For The Courier-Times

MIDDLETOWN – When the Class 2A No. 2 Shenandoah High School varsity boys basketball team kicked in its higher level of play Tuesday night, the result was victory number 20 of the season.

The state-ranked Raiders moved to 20-1 on the campaign, and clinched a tie for the Mid-Eastern Conference (MEC) title, with a dominating second half performance in beating Eastern Hancock 64-34.

Shenandoah is now 8-0 in the conference, and can win the outright championship Friday night with a home win over Wapahani in Von Jameson Memorial Gymnasium. The visiting Royals fell to 11-10 overall and finished 6-3 in the MEC.

The Raiders won for the 14th straight time, but this one wasn’t easy in the first half.

Although the home team took an early lead in this rescheduled game from Jan. 19, leading 13-5 at the 3:33 mark of the first quarter, the Royals responded to narrow the gap, and make it a close game for the remainder of the first half.

The Shenandoah lead was just 17-10 at the first quarter break, then EH scored 10 of the first 14 points of the second quarter to trim the lead to just 21-20 at the 2:15 mark in the quarter.

A pair of charity tosses from both Andrew Bennett and Jackson Campbell, plus two-point fielders from Kaden McCollough and Nate Kimball provided the eight Raider points in that eight minutes of play, and intermission came with Shenandoah ahead 25-20, having scored the final four points of the first half.

Then, the hosts cranked up the offense and shut down Eastern Hancock’s offense in the third quarter.

Ten straight points from the Raiders made the score 35-20 by midway in the quarter, and then Shenandoah scored 12 of the remaining 14 in the period.

Thus, the Raiders led 47-22 with eight minutes to play, and the game was virtually over. McCollough had nailed four straight field goals in that pivotal third quarter, two treys and a pair of two-point field goals, as Shenandoah hit nine fielders in the quarter in only 14 attempts. By contrast, the Royals could hit just one two-point field goal in 11 total attempts.

The Raiders outscored the Royals 17-12 in the final quarter to set the final margin, but the third quarter surge was way more than enough to secure a decisive, impressive, conference title-tying home court win.

“We moved the ball well in the second half, after the ball kind of getting stuck in places in the second quarter, and we rushed some things, and just didn’t play very well offensively,” said veteran head varsity coach David McCollough of his team’s second quarter doldrums on offense. “But in the second half, we moved the ball well, hit a couple of shots, got some momentum, and then kept it going. It was a nice performance to take control of the game that way, because Eastern Hancock has a nice team, well-coached, and were right in the game then.”

For the second half, the Raiders outscored EH 39-14, taking complete control, just as Shenandoah has so many times in this most successful season.

Leading the scoring for Shenandoah was the sophomore McCollough with a game-high 17 points, on seven of nine field goal shooting. Bennett and Evan Coers added 13 points apiece, with fellow starters Jakeb Kinsey and Peyton Starks adding five and four points, respectively.

All five of the SHS starters mentioned above have double figure scoring averages, closely bunched in the lower teens, and all five have led the team in scoring in various games this season.

The other five Raiders in uniform played in the game, scoring a combined dozen points. Kameron Graddy hit two late two-point field goals, Colton Monday added one, and freshman Jasper Campbell saw action in the late going.

Kimball and Jackson Campbell were the first two players off the bench to play in the game.

McCollough was most pleased with his team’s rebounding effort, winning that battle 28-12 versus a taller EH squad, more than offsetting that height deficiency.

“We had multiple guys with good rebound numbers, and that shows effort, and quickness to the ball,” Coach McCollough said. “Our team had good quickness, and that shows in deflections, steals, getting to loose ball and rebounds, just as much as driving the ball and scoring on offense.”

He spoke of the challenges to being a highly-ranked team, a squad that opponents point to on the schedule.

“When you have the kind of success we’ve had, the teams you play are ready for you, and give you their best effort,” McCollough continued. “So, it is very important to stay focused, be ready to play, and do the things well that you do best, and stay with your game.”

For Shenandoah, accurate field goal shooting is part of that game, and the Raiders hit 18 of 33 two-point field goals, unofficially, plus eight of 17 treys. The team had 12 two-point field goals after intermission and hit five treys in the second half.

Eastern Hancock could hit just seven two-point field goals in the entire game, getting off just 19 attempts, and leading scorer Peyton Gray, a 6-7 post player, could score only four points with two inside buckets in the fourth quarter. He was not able to even get off a shot in the first half of play.

Skylar Schrope and freshman Landon O’Neal led the Royals with eight points apiece, and Joey Starrett added seven points off the bench.

Both teams did not foul often in the game, as EH was whistled for just eight fouls, and Shenandoah just five.

Both teams conclude regular season play on Friday, as the Raiders welcome Wapahani in the fore-mentioned regular season finale, with Eastern Hancock going to Hagerstown for a non-conference road game. Hagerstown won 55-52 at Tri Tuesday night.

In Tuesday’s JV game, Zach Arnold of EH won the contest 38-37 with a driving layup in the final seconds.

Shenandoah 64, Eastern Hancock 34


Schrope 3-3 0-0 8, O’Neal 2-9 2-2 8, Smith 0-3 0-0 0, Stephens 1-2 0-0 2, Gray 2-5 0-1 4, Starrett 3-4 0-0 7, Reinbolt 1-5 0-0 3, Denis 0-0 0-0 0, White 1-5 0-0 3, Arnold 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 13-38 2-5 34.


Kinsey 2-6 0-0 5, Starks 2-5 0-2 4, Bennett 5-11 2-2 13, McCollough 7-9 0-0 17, Coers 5-10 0-0 13, Kimball 1-3 0-0 2, Jac. Campbell 1-3 2-2 4, Graddy 2-2 0-0 4, Monday 1-1 0-0 2, Jas. Campbell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-50 4-6 64.

Eastern Hancock`10`10`2`12`-34

Shenandoah`17`8`22`17 -64

3-point goals – Eastern Hancock 6 (Schrope 2, O’Neal 2, Starrett, Rainbolt), Shenandoah 8 (McCollough 3, Coers 3, Kinsey, Bennett). Rebounds – Eastern Hancock 12 (Gray 4), Shenandoah 28 (Starks 8, Jac. Campbell 7). Total fouls – Eastern Hancock 8, Shenandoah 5. Turnovers – Eastern Hancock 17, Shenandoah 13. JV score – Eastern Hancock 38, Shenandoah 37. Records – Eastern Hancock 11-10, 6-3 MEC; Shenandoah 20-1, 8-0 MEC.