By Josh Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
SHADY SPRING —
Chase Connor said after the game Wednesday that he was still recovering from a leg injury sustained in a car accident in 2012. His results on the court said something entirely different.
The 2012 player of the year finalist led Shady Spring (2-4) to an 85-55 victory over county rival Independence (1-3) Wednesday night in the opening round of the Shady Spring Holiday Tournament.
Connor, who came into the contest averaging 28 points per game, finished the game with 25 points, 12 of which came from beyond the arc. It is the second win in a row for the Tigers, who defeated Richwood 92-64 on Friday night. It was their first win at home.
“Tonight, we wanted to keep rolling on from the win against Richwood,” Connor said. “We wanted to keep the tempo up and play real good. It feels really good to get our first home win and it be against a rival like Independence.”
The game was all Tigers as the Patriots were simply unable to matchup with Shady. The home team outscored visiting Independence 24-13 at the end of the first quarter and then sailed on to a 49-29 lead at the half.
Connor was on fire in the third quarter, firing off 13 points and scorching the nets on two 3-pointers from the corner.
In the end, Shady’s offense was simply too much for an undersized Independence squad. Shady also got 13 points from Jordan Meadows and 12 from Jacob Buckland. The Patriots were led by Tyler McKinney, who had 12 points. Bill Sargent and Shane Greco each had 10 points in the effort.
“We felt like it might have been an even matchup coming in, but it sure wasn’t,” Independence coach Chad Perkins said. “We didn’t look like we were ready to play. We turned the ball over, gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. We were a step behind everything all night long, and I have no idea why.”
We were terrible tonight on both ends of the floor. We’re going to have to do much better than this, or it’s going to be a long season.”
Shady Spring coach Steve Clark hopes to build on the momentum of the victory as the season progresses.
“We’ve been on the edge of playing some good basketball here in the last couple of games,” he said. “It’s starting to click out there. We feel like we’re playing pretty good basketball right now.
“We opened up with a AAA schedule. We knew that if we could be in those games and stay competitive, when we came to our Class AA part of our schedule. things might slow down for us and we’d pick up some victories.”
The finals of the Shady Spring Holiday Tournament will match up two of the most talked about players in Raleigh County on Saturday night as Connor and Shady Spring will take on WVU verbal commitment Levi Cook and Liberty in the championship game. That game will be played at 7:30 p.m. Liberty advanced to the final with an 89-69 victory over Pike View.
Pike View will take on Independence in the consolation round at 5:30 p.m.
The teams in the tournament will be very familiar with each other by the end of the week, as Liberty and Independence and Pike View and Shady will match up in games not part of the tournament, which was originally scheduled for Dec. 20 and 21 but was postponed due to weather.
Drew D’Angelo 2 1-3 4, Tyler McKinney 5 0-0 12, Bill Sargent 4 0-0 10, Brandon Treadway 0 0-0 0, John Powell 0 0-0 0, Austin Reed 0 0-0 0, Shane Greco 5 0-3 10, Cody Collins 3 0-3 6, Demonte Hill 1 0-0 3, Zack Tucker 3 0-0 6, Aaron Tolliver 0 2-4 2, Nathaniel Jordan 0 0-0 0, Tanner Ray 0 2-4 2, Adam Tolliver 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 5-17 55
Chase Connor 9 3-5 25, Steven Chhabra 4 1-3 7, Jordan Meadows 4 2-3 13, Jacob Buckland 6 0-0 12, Juwan Rowe 4 0-0 8, Tyler Bonds 2 1-2 5, Corey Snyder 0 0-0 0, Justin Harper 2 0-0 4, Andrew Green 1 1-2 3, Nicholas Snyder 0 0-0 0, Nathan Williams 4 0-0 8, Landon 0 0-0 0. Totals: 36 8-15 85
3-pointers - I: 5 (Hill, McKinney 2, Sargent 2) SS: 7 (Connor 4, Meadows 3)
I 13 16 14 14 – 55
SS 24 25 14 14 – 85