Healthy and highly competitive describe the Russia/Fort Loramie basketball rivalry. Most often, such games are very well-played.
They have also been wildly exciting in the past, like the last March regional semifinal when Russia had a chance to tie at the buzzer after a Fort Loramie missed free throw with less than 10 seconds left in the game.
Jack Kramer of ScoresBroadcast.com, which will be at courtside for Tuesday’s battle between the two programs, noted that about every other Raiders/Redskins clash over the last decade has been extremely close, many times decided by a possession or two at the game’s end.
In fact, during that span, Fort Loramie is averaging 51 points per game; Russia, 49.
ScoresBroadcast.com has become very familiar with this hoops series. It has covered 22 of the previous 28 contests between the two schools. Such games have produced numerous critical showdowns with league championship and tournament draw implications.
Tomorrow’s first Russia/Fort Loramie meeting in the 2018-19 season is important because they are both trying to stay within striking distance of Anna, the Shelby County Athletic League leader.
Russia, league champs for five straight years, and Jackson Center have one loss in SCAL play to date and trail first place Anna, which is unbeaten. Fort Loramie has dropped two league tilts at home but led Anna for 29 minutes on the road on Dec. 28 before falling behind very late.
Webcast time is Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. on SCORES, the Shelby County Online Radio Entertainment System.
“Incredibly nip and tuck” is how Kramer highlighted the Russia-Fort Loramie series. A dozen of the last 23 hardwood tilts between the Raiders and Redskins have been separated by seven points or less and eight of the last 20 have resulted in margins of four points or less, he said.
“You can’t get much tighter than that,” added Chuck McBee, Kramer’s online partner. “One extra good play or a lucky break is usually the difference.”
McBee continued, “SCORES has no rooting interest in the league contests. Jack and I have a passion for what we do. It’s a win-win for us no matter which team comes out on top.”
The two have tried hard to fill the void left by the Sidney radio station when it discontinued local sports 12 years ago.
Russia and Fort Loramie high schools are located only “12.73 miles” apart, noted Kramer, who has made that drive along Routes 66 and 47 time and time again.
“The players from the two programs know each other pretty well. In many families, the parents were once a part of the rivalry, too,” he said. “You would expect these games to be extremely well-contested.”
The league in Shelby County is one of only two Ohio high school conferences in which the schools in one county comprise the complete league, which is named for that county.
SCORES travels to Botkins on Friday night for the Rockets/Trojans game and to St. Henry on Saturday night for the Rockets/Redskins game.
The 11-1 Fort Loramie girls and the 12-0 Minster girls collide on Saturday. The live play-by-play stream begins at 2:10 p.m.