Slam dunk matchups on in coming days

Online service features SCAL leaders in boys and girls Friday, Saturday showdowns

Staff report often has a difficult time selecting the potentially best and most important games to webcast on a weekend. But for Jan. 5 and 6, it’s a “slam dunk.”

As a result of the four teams’ unbeaten Shelby County Athletic League (SCAL) records and their standing at the top of the league, the Russia and Fort Loramie boys and girls squads headline online action Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Fort Loramie hosts the two games. Webcast times are 7:30 and 2:10 p.m.

“By virtue of a Russia boys’ one-point win over Anna in December, the Raiders can leap frog into the league driver’s seat by knocking off the Redskins on the road,” said Jack Kramer, ScoresBroadcast play-by-play announcer.

Interestingly, the co-called “home-court advantage” has not been a big factor in this series. Russia has won five of the last seven at the Redskins’ gym. In battles going back to 2009, Fort Loramie recorded a stretch of five wins in six tries at Russia. League champs the last four seasons, Russia was upended by Fort Loramie in the sectional finals in 2016 and 2017.

“Right now, these two schools comprise the biggest boys and girls rivalries in the league,” said Chuck McBee, online color man and game site engineer. “Although, several years ago the Anna-Fort Loramie girls contests took a back seat to no one in the county, boys or girls.”

Last year Russia’s girls, who were district champs along with Jackson Center, whipped Fort Loramie three times by an average margin of 17 points. The Redskins had won the previous 19 straight. Prior to that streak, Russia last topped the Skins in 2007.

By other numbers, too, the Russia-Fort Loramie game choices make sense for SCORES, the Shelby County Online Radio Entertainment System. Nine of the 24 underwriting businesses supporting the online service are located in the two communities. Sponsorships continue to expand as listenership climbs.

The Fort Loramie at Versailles boys clash on Tuesday night is another “no doubter” for SCORES coverage. Starting the weekend, each team is undefeated and will be highly-ranked in the first state polls early in the new calendar year.

“On the heels of Versailles’ thrilling two-point win at Anna that featured Justin Ahrens and Wyatt Bensman matching baskets, that game next Tuesday shapes up as another crowd pleaser,” said McBee, noting that this time Ahrens goes head-to-head with Skins sharpshooter Dylan Braun.

Versailles has thumped Fort Loramie in seven straight meetings by an average of 15 points. The Redskins last triumph was in the 2009-10 season when they finished 17-7 and advanced to the regional tourney.

Webcast time for the Tuesday Fort Loramie at Versailles showdown is 7:10 p.m.

Online service features SCAL leaders in boys and girls Friday, Saturday showdowns

Staff report