Shanholtz, Fields and Gray overpower Keyser 56-43
KEYSER – The trajectory of the season changed last week as the Trojans won their biggest game of the season in decisive fashion in Tornado Alley.
In early December, the Golden Tornado rolled into Sunrise Summit and shocked Hampshire 54-53 thanks to a pair of late game free throws by Noah Broadwater.
If HHS wanted to remain alive for an opportunity to host the sectional championship in late February, it was mandatory for the Trojans to steal a win in Mineral County if they wanted to keep their hopes alive – and that’s exactly what they did.
“It’s always great to come to Keyser and get a big win,” said HHS head coach Danny Alkire.
“Being a sectional game that you lost the first time, this game was intensified. I couldn’t be more proud of the way we played.”
Although the outcome appeared lopsided, things didn’t look good early on as Keyser jumped out to their biggest lead of the game, a 10-4 advantage late in the first quarter.
The Trojans put together a quick rally and scored the next 7 points to snatch an 11-10 lead entering the second stanza.
From that point forward, Keyser never managed to grab the upper hand as HHS rolled into intermission with a 32-25 lead. Stingy defense and missed shots by Keyser helped Hampshire in the second half as the Trojans outscored Keyser 24-18 to wrap up the 56-43 victory.
“We were hungry because we didn’t get the outcome we wanted in the first game,” explained senior standout Easton Shanholtz.
“We knew we were the better team and we came in here and played like it, and it showed.”
The 6’7” center was dominant on both ends of the floor recording his 10th double-double of the season scoring 14 points and pulling down 16 rebounds.
It’s no secret that Shanholtz is hard to stop, averaging 17 points and 14 boards per game, but the victory over Keyser was fueled by the help of his teammates.
Shanholtz’s sharpshooting teammate, junior Jenson Fields, had a spectacular night against Keyser tossing in 15 points and drilling a trio of 3-pointers.
“I feel like our chemistry is fully there,” said Fields after the game.
“We are making smarter choices and fewer mistakes.”
Like Shanholtz, Fields is averaging 17 points per game.
Perhaps the biggest key to Hampshire’s 13-point victory over the Golden Tornado was the play of Jordan Gray. The 6’2” junior continues to become more comfortable with the basketball in his hands, and his play along the perimeter is trending upward. With Gray’s ability to score the basketball and make plays on the offensive end, Keyser had a difficult time of double teaming Shanholtz or Fields.
Gray was relentless attacking the basket and led HHS at the charity stripe, knocking down 7-of-10 free throws and scoring a total of 13 points.
“He’s a big guard with great handles,” said Fields about the play of Gray.
“He can make shots when we need him to.”
Coach Alkire agreed with Fields’s assessment of Gray’s play.
“He did a great job down the stretch and at the line,” said Alkire.
“He can stretch out and play along the perimeter, or he can go down and help in the low post. He stepped up tonight in a way that we have been expecting all year.”
Dylan Streisel had a nice outing, as well, scoring 8 points and knocking down a pair of 3-pointers. Mason Hott tallied 4 points, 3 steals and 2 assists while Dom Strawn scored 2 points with 4 rebounds.
Statistically, Hampshire dominated in most areas, shooting 50.0% from the field compared to Keyser’s 32.1%.
“Lack of scoring at the rim for us was huge,” said Keyser head coach Scott Furey.
“We missed a bunch of bunnies and gave up a ton of offensive rebounds.”
As Furey pointed out, Hampshire owned the glass pulling down 38 rebounds compared to 25 by Keyser.
“I told them at halftime that we were giving up too many rebounds, then we come out and give up three immediately off of free throws,” said Furey.
“It’s one of those nights where even when we tried to make a concerted effort to change, it didn’t change. It was a bad night to have a bad night.”
Anthony Mele was the top scorer for Keyser with 10 points, while Noah Broadwater finished with 9. Jack Stanislawczyk and Micheal Schell both chipped in 6 points each.
“We know their style and we know what to do against it,” explained Alkire on the Trojans ability to hold Keyser in check.
“I think we did a better a job on the wings and Easton saved us with 4 or 5 blocks.”
Officially, Shanholtz was credited with 4 blocks and 2 deflections and believes the defensive effort was the biggest difference between the 2 games.
“It was more mental lapses in the first game,” said Shanholtz.
“Tonight we came here and cleaned it up.”
The Trojans are currently ranked No. 3 in the most recent Cumberland Times area poll and are eager to face Berkeley Springs on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
HHS Boys Basketball
Lost to Martinsburg 57-54 in OT
Beat Keyser 56-43
Friday, Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m. vs. Berkeley Springs
Saturday, Jan. 21, 7 p.m. vs. Preston