By DAVE MORRISON
ESPN Radio 102.3 The Ticket
You stay in this business long enough, it’s hard to come across many situations you haven’t seen or heard of in the past.
Yesterday was an exception.
Nicholas County’s Luke LeRose, making his freshman debut against Nitro last night, scored 34 points. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that type of freshman debut.
LeRose filled up the basket, not surprising given the two scrimmage games in which he led the team in scoring.
But to come out as a freshman, against a pretty good team (Nicholas lost the game 94-77) and drop 34 points is rather startling.
LeRose flashed his skills which included making four 3 pointers and also showed his ability to drive to the basket (he made the Grizzlies four of five free throws).
It’s not like frershmen haven’t played in the past, though it used to be the exception rather than the rule. Stuff Lynch from Oak Hill was an exception back in the late 80s, when he dressed for Oak Hill and later helped Oak Hill win the 1989 state championship on a team that featured P.G. Greene and Keith Shelton, the brother of Tracy Shelton. Even Tracy Shelton didn’t play varsity as a freshmen.
It’s different now. Players are more ready to play at the varsity level, playing more in AAU, summer leagues and camps.
Not only are freshmen dressing, some are playing. Tommy Williams had eight for Shady Spring in his debut. Still, more often than not a freshman is going to defer to the older players on the team.
LeRose is showing he is not afraid to use his skill level, which is obviously at a different level than most.
Head coach Brian Phipps called LeRose “special.”
It very well could be that there have been equal, maybe even better that LeRose’s 34-point effort. But I haven’t heard of it.
Tonight the Grizzlies travel to Portsmouth, Ohio to take on Fairlands, Ohio, a team that was 17-3 last year and returns its top eight from that team.
That game was set up Wednesday. Yes, as in yesterday, when a coach noticed the Grizzlies needed a game after Liberty-Harrison had dropped them due to a scheduling conflict.
Phipps jumped at the chance to play the game.
Even after returning late last night from Nitro.
Phipps will be looking for better offensive rebounding, more taking the ball to the rim. On most night’s 77 will win you a lot of games. Keep in mind too, Jacob Grose, a big part of this team, missed the Nitro game with an injury.
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Summers County twins Brittney and Whittney Justice got off to a good start on their senior seasons, both scoring 28 points in the Lady Bobcats 73-49 victory over Woodrow Wilson Wednesday.
The output helped Sarah Blevins win her debut as the Class A No. 3 Lady Bobcats’ head coach.
Not really a surprise, both the Justice girls are 1,000-point career scorers. Both will look to average over 20 points per game, and it wouldn’t be a surprising to see them average 24-25 points per game for Summers County.
Victoria Stanton and Laken Ball had 13 points each for the Flying Eagles.
Princeton beat PikeView and River View beat James Monroe at the Grant’s Super marker Sammy White Memorial Tournament in Princeton.
Princeton will take on River View at 7:45 p.m. tonight in what will already be the Tigers’ sixth game of the season. Princeton is definitely beating the bad weather to the punch. Of course, four of the games have been in tournament games Princeton has hosted, including this tournament.