River Ridge up for grabs
It’s easy for the non-aligned to say, though. Most of us who don’t make their living from or have a particular emotional attachment to one of the schools or participants have it made.
We can just enjoy the show.
Coaches, parents, administrators, others have a different burden. One veteran coach said it best:
“Would you stake your career on the whims of 16-year-olds?”
Fortunately, other adults are more courageous. So the games are played, races run, necks wrung, balls are struck or thrown.
Which brings us to the current basketball season.
Things can change fast in high school hoops. Take the Christiansburg boys. Less than a year ago, Brenden Motley, Zach Davis, Zach Snell and associates were winning the Group AA Division 4 state championship trophy after an epic season.
This year, it could be an epic struggle to reach double figures in wins.
Unflappable bench boss Shawn Good couldn’t say he saw it coming. Preseason, the coaching crystal ball was foggy as a winter’s night trying on Christiansburg Mountain.
“You know, I wasn’t really sure because I didn’t know how many kids I was going to have out for the team,” he said. “I was just trying to figure out who was going to actually play.”
Only about six players had been coming out for summer league. A couple played some AAU. Good was relieved to see veterans Joey Augustin and Tanner Cayton show up for early workouts.
Josh Moore joined them.
Augustin had been in the rotation last year.
Cayton and Moore played minutes on selected occasions.
Elsewhere, there were a lot of promotions from last year’s junior varsity and not very many football players.
Motley, Davis and Snell straddled the basketball and football communities. So does Augustin.
That made a big difference the previous two seasons in basketball.
These were athletes who weren’t shy about mixing it up inside and defending taller players. That element has not been a major part of the current team, which is much more perimeter-oriented.
Nevertheless, Christiansburg reached 4-11 at midweek after winning three of its last four. Cayton and Augustin scored 24 each as the Demons dumped host Cave Spring 73-58.
The Knights were fresh off back-to-back wins at Salem and Blacksburg and despite numerous problems of their own had moved into first place in the River Ridge District.
Speaking of said league, this is flu season and everything, but something really awful must be going around the River Ridge.
Cave Spring was state runner-up in D3 last year and a two-time state winner just a few years ago.
The Knights are 8-8 (against a difficult schedule) but thrice have failed to score as many as 30 points. Hidden Valley, Salem and Blacksburg each a win or two from state championships the last 10 years are all under .500.
Hidden Valley has won three games and struggled to do that. Pulaski County is limping along with three victories.
So an outsider could say this is a weak sauce district this year and be snide and unkind but not incorrect. Or, seen from the inside, any of the members could rightfully claim that the River Ridge is the land of opportunity in 2012‑13.
“The district right now is wide open,” Good said.
There’s another from the high heights to the low depths story playing out just down the road. Consider Galax. Last year, the Maroon Tide was in the process of winning back-to-back Division 1 state championships. Then came graduation.
Galax would like to win back-to-back games this year. To do that would require winning more than one game, of course. That’s what Galax has, one win. With the Mountain Empire District loss to Bland County on Tuesday, the Tide has lost six-straight and 10 of 11.
So we’ll see what happens now. You never know. The last guy who tried to predict the unpredictable was recently seen heading downtown to apply for unemployment benefits.
Good, the son of a coach and a great player in younger days, has perspective.
“You just have to understand that’s the way high school basketball is. You’re going to have years that you have talent, that you have better players than everybody else.
“Then you have years that maybe — I don’t want to say your players are subpar but — it could be the talent’s even with everyone else.
“You just have to figure out how to win with a different style than you’ve been used to.”
The Roanoke Times | 381-1672
No Comments »
No comments yet.