No one can ever accuse the Shadyside girls' basketball team of ducking anyone.
The schedule-makers did the Lady Tigers no favors this season as games against much bigger schools are all through the list of contests.
After breezing past Shenandoah in the season-opener, Shadyside defeated a pretty good Monroe Central team with ease before dropping a overtime tilt to Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans. A narrow win against visiting Philo last Monday was the last time the LTs have tasted victory.
Back-to-back setbacks - to Wheeling Central and Wheeling Park - has Shadyside at 3-3.
However, the road gets no easier. The Orange-and-Black travels to Parkersburg South (Class 5-A) Thursday before Monroe Central visits the Tigers' Den Saturday. They will also take part in the innaugural Martins Ferry Holiday Tournament on Dec. 28-29 along with Steubenville, Pickerington Central and the host Purple Riders. Shadyside has to deal with the Division I Tigers from suburban Columbus in the opening round.
Down the road, games at Wheeling Park, Rosecrans, River and Union Local loom. The Tigers host Parkersburg South, Martins Ferry, River, Wheeling Central and University.
Some how, I think Tina Yates and her talented crew will be up to the challenge.
Lives Up to the Billing
Last Monday's Bridgeport at River game certainly lived up to the expectations placed on it as Rob Zitzelsberger's squad rallied from a late deficit to earn a huge road victory inside the R.L. Potts Gymnasium in Hannibal.
The Lady Dawgs received outstanding efforts from the usual suspects in Caitlyn Kroll, Maclaine Murad and Nicole Smolenak, but it took a conventional three-point play by Briana Massey and two key plays from senior Kaitlyn Benda to pull out the win.
On the next trip downcourt following Massey's hoop-and-harm, the southpaw launched a three-pointer from the wing that gave the visitors a 4-point bulge. Then, after River battled back to draw even, Benda came up with a huge steal and fed the ball to Kroll who was fouled. She would hit 1-of-2 free throws and Bridgeport held on.
The rematch is set for Jan. 14 inside the John J. Havlicek Gymnasium.
Red Devils on a Roll
Don't look now, but Alicia Freeman's St. Clairsville quint has reeled off three consecutive victories after suffering back-to-back losses to start the campaign.
The latest win was a thriller over Bellaire last Thursday. They have also defeated Harrison Central and Edison.
The Week Ahead
Tonight's slate of games features Union Local at Martins Ferry in a re-match of their season-opener that the Purple prevailed in.
Wednesday has St. Clairsville traveling to Bridgeport and Buckeye Local hosting Brooke. On Thursday, the Red Devils return home to host Martins Ferry on John Jenkins Court, while Saturday has Union Local at John Marshall in a rematch of last week's Monarch win. Another pair of return encounters are also featured when St. John Central and Bellaire meet in the 'Greenhouse' on Guernsey Street and Shadyside entertains Monroe Central.
There are currently eight squads with perfect records thus far. Three of them are lodged in the largest classification - Morgantown, University and John Marshall. Two are in 4-A - Martins Ferry and Steubenville - and 2-A - Bridgeport and Clay-Battelle - and one in 3-A - Fort Frye.
Four schools are looking for that first win. They are Parkersburg South, Buckeye Local, East Richland Christian and Valley.
Martins Ferry leap-frogged Steubenville to take the top spot in the Class 4A standings. The undefeated Purple Riders of first-year head coach Lindsay Coyne are 1.13 points ahead of the Big Red.
Morgantown (5-A), Fort Frye (3-A), Wheeling Central (2-A) and Conotton Valley (1-A) are the other leaders.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org