Zane Trace is coming off of a defensive masterpiece as they beat Chillicothe, 45-33. Junior Guard, Cam Evans was at an entirely other level for the Pioneers with 25 points and 6 rebounds. For the Shermans to maintain their 69 game SVC winning streak, they will have to contain him, as well as keeping Tritan Davidson and Nick Nesser off the glass. None of that will be easy, but even if they do, they still have to account for Luke Johnson on the outside. Things don't get easier on the offensive end, as Colby Swain headlines the perimeter defensive effort and Davidson is a complete game changer inside.
It will take a big time effort on both ends for the Shermans and for the crowd to bring some extra energy to help them go over the top. Outside shooting needs to be on point after only shooting 3 for 16 from beyond the arc against Logan. The Shermans have won the last 9 meetings between the two schools, including a 57-44 decision in last season's regular season finale. Zane Trace is the last school to defeat Unioto in SVC play when they beat the Shermans 57-56 in overtime on a Saturday afternoon in 2013. Zane Trace also leads the all-time series, 59-50 over the Shermans.
Things don't get easier on Saturday when they travel to Huntington Township to battle the Huntsmen. Huntington is led by senior Elijah McCloskey who is a do-it-all guard who will likely be a rare 4-time All SVC member for the Huntsmen. He can score inside or outside and can catch fire ala NBA Jam when he's on. The Huntsmen also carry a trio of seniors who can hurt you in a variety of ways, with DJ Kinzer, Nate Snyder, and Canaan Knoles.
Games at Huntington tend to be very difficult for the Shermans and the Huntington students tend to be loud and very involved in the games, which could bring a very difficult atmosphere, especially for the young Shermans squad. Unioto has won the last 13 meetings between the schools, which puts their lead in the all-time series at 74 to 62.
In last weekend's game at Logan, the Shermans struggled against the defensive speed and intensity of the experienced Chieftains in the first half and got into a big hole at the half. Once things settled at the intermission, the Shermans played much better, but the deficit was too much and they fell 66-47. Issac Little played well in his first game at Unioto, shooting 4 of 5 from the field and scoring 13 points. Cade McKee had 10 points, while Jeremy Lambert and Gunnar Greenwalt gave great energy off of the bench. Senior Gabe McBee had his toughest defensive matchup, but hit the boards well.
Look for Chance Smith and Justin Manson to step things up this weekend, along with the DeBords and Josh Lambert, while Aiden Loeffler and Nate Keiser will need to continue to bring outstanding defensive energy as well. It will be a tough weekend, but it should be an excitng one as it is any time the ball goes up
and the Unioto Shermans are in play.
On the Girls side, Jocie Fisher continued her dominant start to her senior season with a career high 29 points in a 76-39 win over the Paint Valley Bearcats on Tuesday night. She was 11 for 12 from the field and is shooting a cool 85% thus far on the season. Don't miss your chance to watch the Shermans next week as they will be taking their show on the road on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Tuesday, they travel to Adena to take on the Warriors (0-3). The Shermans lead the all-time series 50-43, including the last 10 meetings. Look for Juniors Amber Cottrill, Emily Coleman, and Hallie Pinkerton's defensive pressure making a major impact in this game against the young Warriors, but watch out for the Adena program in the near future after the past few seasons of being down compared to their great history.
On Thursday will be the game of the night in the Southeast District as the Shermans travel down US 50 to McArthur to battle with the Vinton County Vikings. The Shermans broke up the Vikings perfect record last season with a 67-44 drubbing last January, but it was a rare off-night for the Vikings from the outside and I can't imagine that they won't be ready for some revenge. They are perfect again to start this season, including a blowout of Chillicothe to start the year off. Unioto does lead the all-time series 9-1.
I'll have a more detailed breakdown of next Saturday's game at Westfall sometime next week.
If you can't make it out to the games this weekend, WKKJ will be covering Friday's game and the website will be updated that evening and the twitter account will have stats and scores from both night's games right after at @UHSShermanHoops. Let's Go Shermans!