The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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February 15, 2013

Shady delivers TKO to Independence

Sometimes a county rivalry can bring out the best in two basketball squads, both teams fighting for a victory until the final second ticks off the clock.

That wasn’t quite the case when Independence and Shady Spring faced off on Friday night.  The Tigers walked away with an easy 40-point victory over the struggling Patriots, 85-45, their third win over Independence this season.

Independence actually hung with Shady in the opening minutes, before Shady Spring capitalized on some missed shots and turnovers.

“Well, we were trying to stay in the game early. We were playing pretty good, but we missed some shots and the lead went from 8 to 10 to 12 and down the same hole we’ve been in this season,” Independence coach Chad Perkins said.

Shady capitalized on the Indy mistakes leading to the rout. The lead allowed Shady to get some valuable playing time for some of its younger players.

“I really enjoyed doing that,” Shady coach Steve Clark said. “You could tell by our kids, they were all having fun. The kids on the bench were cheering them on, and they got some valuable playing time for some of the kids who will be playing next year.”

The Tigers gave one of their best team performances of the season, finishing the game with three players in double figures and only one player not scoring.

Once again, Shady was led by senior hot shot Chase Connor.

“We couldn’t handle Chase Connor,” Perkins said. “I really respect Chase. I’ve enjoyed coaching against him, but I’m glad he’s graduating.”

While Perkins’ comments were made with a laugh, it’s likely the way many coaches around the region are feeling.

Connor became Shady’s all-time leading scorer earlier this month and found out Friday  he is being rewarded for his hard work.

“I got a text message from Coach (Steve) Clark telling me to come in and get something,” Connor said.

What he received was a certificate of his nomination for McDonald’s All-American, ranking him among the top players in the country.

“It means a lot,” Connor said. “All the hard work I put into this year is paying off, and I really appreciate it.”

“I received the packet today; I didn’t know he was nominated,” Clark said. “I was surprised. He’s a kid who deserves it. It’s a great honor.”

Even with rumors circulating recently about Bob Huggins’ attraction to the hot shooting senior guard, Connor was hush-hush on his plans after graduation.

“I don’t know right now,” Connor said. “I haven’t fully decided yet. I’ll know closer to the end of the season.”

He won’t have much longer to wait. Shady Spring has two games left before the sectional tournament, including the final home game of the season on Wednesday night against Richwood. Tip-off for that one will be at 7:30 p.m.

Independence will wrap up its regular season on Monday against Montcalm.

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