Blazers 13-0 After 81-48 Win
STAUNTON – With 2 minutes and 30 seconds remaining in the game, Spotswood High School basketball coach Chad Edwards yelled at the top of his lungs for someone to cover R.E. Lee senior guard Shai Matthews, who leads the Valley District with 24.4 points per game.
The traveling SHS fans just started chuckling.
“Well, Matthews… was at the top of our game plan,” Edwards said. “I have tunnel vision at times. He was walking toward the bench and I thought he was open in the corner for another 3, and I was going crazy. Then, he sat down on the bench.”
The game was basically a laugher, too.
The Trailblazers held foul-strapped Matthews to a season-low 14 points, didn’t allow more than 13 points in any quarter and delivered their highest scoring output against the rival Leemen in Edwards’ eight-year coaching tenure, winning 81-48 Tuesday.
Spotswood (13-0 overall, 4-0 in the Valley District) has now secured two straight victories at Lee’s Paul Hatcher Gymnasium – a place where the Blazers have managed only four wins dating back to 1987. Their previous two have come during the postseason, one in each of the past two seasons.
“Coach E keeps telling us, this is what we work for all year – this time of the season when the games really matter. You know, Broadway was just, it was our lowest point of the season,” SHS senior Hyrum Weiler said of Friday’s 48-27 win at BHS. “We all knew as a team we needed to come out and step it up and do better.”
The stars were out in full force for the Blazers, who doubled up Lee (6-6, 3-2) in the second half, 48-24. Junior point guard Tucker McCoy led SHS with 20 points. Weiler and senior forward Austin Nicely added 19 and 18, respectively.
“Each game this season so far, we’ve all had to pick each other up, but tonight we all played well together,” McCoy said of Spotswood’s leading trio.
Weiler and Nicely also dominated the boards, grabbing 21 combined rebounds. Lee’s statistics showed SHS having a 20-rebound advantage with 42 total on the night.
“We don’t rebound. We don’t have any post presence,” Lee coach Jarrett Hatcher said. “Spotswood’s got bigger guys. The Nicely kid. The Weiler kid. That’s going to be an Achilles heel regardless of who we play. I thought they missed a lot of shots early. We should’ve been up.”
After nine lead changes, Spotswood closed the second quarter on a 12-2 run fueled by McCoy and Weiler – who began the rally with a tipped-in field goal near the 3:40 mark. The Blazers led 33-24 at halftime. Their lead only swelled from there.
“Spotswood is the cream of the crop,” Hatcher said.
Nicely scored 13 of his 18 points after the break. Providing SHS with a strong post presence, Nicely electrified the fans with a layup in the air off an alley-oop pass from McCoy that pushed Spotswood’s lead to 20 points with 4:15 left. Edwards’ light-hearted moment soon followed.
For the record, the SHS coach wasn’t screaming bloody murder the entire game. He put on a big, bright smile when Nicely and Caleb Detamore – who had seven rebounds and a six-point fourth quarter – checked out of the game during separate late substitutions.
A total team effort tends to have that effect on a coach, especially in the house that Paul Hatcher built.
“I think tonight is the closest we’ve come to playing a full 32 minutes,” Edwards said. “We didn’t have long lulls on offense, and defensively, we were able to string together multiple stops a couple times during the game. … There’s a lot of good players and there’s a lot of good coaches who never won a game here. So I feel blessed.”
McCoy 7 3-6 20, Davis 1 4-4 7, Nicely 7 4-5 18, Garber 1 0-1 3, Weiler 6 7-10 19, Lasam 2 0-0 5, Detamore 3 0-1 6, Blandon 1 0-0 2, Saylor 0 1-2 1. Totals 28 19-29 81.
Whitelow 3 5-5 12, Matthews 4 5-7 14, Spears 2 0-0 4, M. Crawford 1 0-4 2, C. Crawford 2 4-6 8, Horne 3 0-0 6, Sheffey 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 14-22.
Spotswood 13 20 20 28 - 81
R.E. Lee 11 13 12 12 - 48
3-Point Goals—SHS 6 (McCoy 3, Davis, Garber, Lasam), Lee 2 (Whitelow, Matthews). Fouled Out—Lee (Horne, Spears). Rebounds—SHS 42 (Weiler 12), Lee 22 (Whitelow 9). Total Fouls—SHS 22, Lee 25.
JV score: Spotswood won.