TaRon Ayers was glad to be home.
The stellar point guard, who transferred back to Summers County High School this fall after a stint at Woodrow Wilson, made his homecoming a big success Saturday night.
He scored the first seven points of the game, and finished with 32 to lead the 2-0 Bobcats to a 72-67 victory over Shady Spring.
“I loved the coaching staff at Woodrow, but Summers County is my home,” Ayers said. “I loved coming back here to play with my family.”
Ayers is a cousin of teammates Isaiah Brown and T.J. Smith, who also played well in the home opener.
“I wanted to get the win and represent my community and family,” Ayers said.
He put on quite a show, whether slashing to the basket or launching 3-pointers. He knocked down two deuces and a trey in the first three minutes, and later added five more points to help Summers out to an 18-11 first quarter lead.
But when Ayers and hustling forward Smith both got into foul trouble early in the second quarter, the Bobcats’ tempo dropped.
“We got into foul trouble and the game got too slow for us,” coach James “Pistol” Payne said. “We quit pressing and got into a halfcourt game. When the game is faster, we’re pretty good.”
Shady Spring (0-2) came roaring back, despite a cold shooting half by all-stater Chase Conner, and trailed by just one, 28-27, at halftime.
“We’ve got off to a slow start two games in a row,” coach Steve Clark said. “We can’t let that keep happening.”
Conner scored just one basket and three foul shots in the half.
“Isaiah Brown did a tremendous job on Chase Conner,” Payne said. “Where Chase went, Isaiah was right there.”
Conner came back with a pair of 3s in the third quarter to keep it close, at 52-47.
Ayers stayed out of foul trouble the rest of the way, however, and scored six points in each quarter.
Shady made it a three-point game at 58-55 and 64-61, but down the stretch the Bobcats hit six foul shots, including 3 of 4 by Ayers.
Smith finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and three steals.
“T.J. pounded the boards tonight,” Payne said.
Brown scored eight, and center Josh Graham had eight points and along with 12 rebounds.
The Tigers not only shot the ball poorly from the field, but also made just 11 of 23 foul shots. Summers was 18 of 25.
“We couldn’t get over the hump. We didn’t shoot the ball well,” Clark said. “We played hard at times, but we let down at times as well.”
Conner finished with 20 points. Forward Jacob Buckland added 14 and Steve Chhabra had 11.
Shady Spring plays Riverside Tuesday. Summers County travels Thursday to Liberty.
— E-mail: dstillwell@
Summers County 72, Shady Spring 67
Shady Spring (0-2)
Chase Conner 5 6-7 20, Steven Chhabra 5 1-4 11, Jordan Meadows 3 0-1 5, Jacob Buckland 6 2-7 14, Juwan Rowe 4 1-3 9, Andrew Green 0 0-0 0, Tyler Bonds 2 1-1 5. Totals: 25 11-23 67.
Summers County (2-0)
Isaiah Brown 3 2-3 8, TaRon Ayers 12 5-6 32, Josh Graham 4 0-0 8, T.J. Smith 5 4-6 15, Jacob Carr 1 2-2 4, Matt Ryan 0 4-6 4, Ashton Garten 0 0-0 0, Jaquan Akers 0 1-2 1. Totals: 25 18-25 72.
SS 11 16 20 20 — 67
SC 18 10 24 20 — 72
3-point goals — SS: 6 (Connor 4, Meadows 2); SC: 4 (T. Ayers 3, Smith 1).
Former Woodrow Wilson star leads Summers County past Shady Spring
TaRon Ayers was glad to be home.
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