The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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High School Sports

January 12, 2013

Shady Spring too much for rival Independence

COAL CITY — Chase Connor could afford to miss a few shots early.

Independence didn’t have that luxury.

Connor, Shady Spring’s smooth-shooting all-state guard, rimmed off his first two tries, then caught fire to propel the Tigers to a 93-60 win Friday night in Coal City.

Connor kept getting open, whether from screens or his own moves, and finished with a game-high 29 points.

“Chase felt bad because he was taking so many shots, but we told him to keep shooting,” Tigers coach Steve Clark said. “He said, ‘Guys, I don’t want to be a ball hog.’ But they were giving him the shot, and he was taking it.”

Connor hit four baskets in the first quarter as Shady moved ahead 17-6. He added another four, including a trifecta, as Shady rolled to a 43-24 halftime lead.

Independence (1-8) hoped to claim some early momentum, but kept missing easy lay-ups. The Patriots failed to score until Aaron Tolliver made a stickback at the 4:09 mark.

“Our defense was holding steady early, but we couldn’t score enough to stay in the game,” coach Chad Perkins said. “We settled down, but while you might get two or three stops in a row, you’re not going to get seven or eight. Especially when Chase Connor is on the other side of the floor.”

Even beyond Connor, it was Shady’s night. The Tigers hit 11 3-point goals, with guard Jordan Meadows matching Connor’s three, and reserve guard Landon Perry adding two more.

Center Jacob Buckland controlled the boards despite a size disadvantage. He scored 12 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.

“Jacob is a key,” Clark said. “We didn’t count on him a lot last season, but this year he’s grown up. He’s stepping up to the plate, and when he gets going, we’re pretty much going as well.”

Independence made a run at Shady to start the second half, with consecutive inside baskets by Shane Greco, Cody Collins and Greco again. The last two were on offensive rebounds.

Clark called a timeout and jumped the Tigers.

“I told them they had quit playing defense. They were giving Independence the ball so they could score and then we could get it back and score,” he said. “And that doesn’t work, because at that point, we weren’t scoring, and they were.”

Shady responded. Meadows put back a rebound, Steven Chhabra scored on the fast break and Connor hit a jumper to make it 49-30.

Chhabra, Corey Snyder and Meadows finished with nine points apiece.

The Tigers are now 5-5 and winners of five out of their last six games.

“We’re not where we want to be, but we’re getting there,” Clark said. “Some pretty good teams beat us early — Princeton, Summers County, Riverside and Westside.”

Shady Spring will travel Tuesday to Liberty.

Greco and Collins led the Patriots with 10 points apiece. Tyler McKinney and Drew D’Angelo added nine points apiece.

Independence remains home to face Summers County on Tuesday.

“We’re a work in progress,” Perkins said. “We’re struggling right now, but we’re going to keep fighting. We’ll get through it.”

— E-mail: dstillwell@

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