It helped that sunny, dry weather on Sunday enabled people to drive a few hours very comfortably from northern Ohio to Shelby County.
Even more, it helped that last year’s inaugural event at Fort Loramie had the reputation for being a great success and, thus, attracted many repeat spectators.
As importantly, it helped that the event was on the bucket list of additional fans from all over west central Ohio who wanted to view outstanding varsity basketball players from fine local programs as they put on a show with excellent talent around Ohio.
For the 2,500-plus spectators over the course of the day, the second annual Martin Luther King Classic at Fort Loramie sponsored by the Community Insurance Group was a “slam dunk.”
You might also say that, for many, the event is fast becoming a sure thing, much like the thunderous flush hammered home by 6-foot-11 Austin Parks of St. Marys in his club’s upset win over undefeated Lexington.
“Back next year for certain,” said a 50-year-old former coach from east of Lima. “It will take a blizzard to keep me away from good high school basketball on a holiday weekend in Shelby County. This event attracts sharp-shooters who know how to score.”
Flurries of 3-pointers, 28 to be exact, are what fans witnessed in amazement during the second and fourth games of the day, when Russia raced past Division II Willard, 71-60, and when Fort Loramie topped Yellow Springs, 61-45.
The Crimson Flashes of Willard, who are pacing the Sandusky Bay Conference this season, stayed close to even with the Raiders most of the time. But when the smooth lefty Max Dawson, who scorched the nets for 28, and teammate wing Alex Strayer, who tallied 13, stroked in five or six straight points to put pressure on Russia, the Hayden-Braylon duo responded pronto.
In a dazzling display of shot-making, Quinter and Cordonnier ripped the cords for 27 and 24, respectively, and looked often like “contortionists” nailing baskets you might ordinarily “try” in a backyard game of Horse or Skunk.
Quinter’s patented drives from the flank enabled him to snake along the baseline and then twist back toward the court just enough to create an angle for kissing in 12-foot bankers.
Cordonnier was crafty at getting into the top of the lane before bobbing, weaving and fading to sink soft-touch, fall-away jumpers, one after another. When Willard was able to corral Cordonnier at the foul line, he stepped out and drained three triples.
Russia’s final winning margin of eleven was the biggest spread of the game. The Raiders were in front by five at halftime and by seven after three quarters.
Coach Spencer Cordonnier’s team is at home to Botkins on Tuesday night this week in Shelby County Athletic League action. Russia is 13-1 overall and 6-1 in league play.
Phil Groves’ Botkins group is playing its best basketball of the year right now. A winner of five in a row, Botkins is 8-4 and 4-2.
ScoresBroadcast.com is on the air Tuesday night from Russia at 6:55 p.m. Tipoff is at 7:30. Jack Kramer and Chuck McBee are on the call.
By the way, head coach Corey Britton of Fort Loramie earned his 150th triumph at the school when his club subdued the Yellow Springs Bulldogs at the MLK Classic. Caleb Maurer fired in four 3-pointers in route to a 24-point afternoon. Ethan Keiser added 12 with four three-balls. Austin Pleiman scored 10.
Nate Barhorst’s Anna Rockets gave unbeaten Findlay Liberty-Benton a run for its money in the opener on Sunday, only to fall short, 49-45. The Rockets had a short-lived lead late in the third quarter and a game-tying shot blocked with less than ten seconds left in the contest.
A 20-point day from stud Parks of St. Mary’s, the Ohio State commit, lifted the Roughriders past the Lexington Minutemen, 49-46, in a see-saw struggle.
Spirited performances by members of a talented Springfield Shawnee squad and top scorer Zion Crowe edged out Marion Local and Jack Knapke, 35-33. The Flyers never led.
Jacob Roeth’s monster 31-point night shot Miami East past Minster, 55-42, in the Classic finale.
Osgood Bank with locations in Osgood, Chickasaw, Fort Loramie and Indian Lake sponsored awards for each game’s Most Valuable Player.