Every season is different and this one is certainly no exception.
Unique. Unpredictable. Unusual. Weird. Head-scratching. Choose your adjective. Each one fits like a glove.
That’s why the price of admission to a high school sporting event remains one of the best bargains around.
Sometimes the story of a game is the dramatic ending, like Justine Pagenhardt’s halfcourt shot at the buzzer that won the region championship for the Southern girls a few years ago.
Sometimes it’s a record-smashing performance, like Mac Sloan’s 66-point night in a win over Allegany, or Paw Paw’s Josh Delawder breaking the West Virginia career scoring record.
And sometimes it can be a combination of things that doesn’t sink in until hours after a game. Friday night’s game at Mountain Ridge falls into that category.
The scorebooks, the scoreboard, the newspaper and the radio said the same thing, a convincing 68-46 Bishop Walsh win.
But if someone before the game had told Mountain Ridge coach Dave Hobel that BW’s top scorers would have only 26 points — combined — he would’ve been tickled to death and figured the Miners would more than likely be the happy ones at the final buzzer.
But this one was never close.
Why? A number of reasons, and at the top of the list was Quincy Redmon’s night. Seldom has a player who attempted four measly shots had a bigger impact on a game as Redmon did.
Redmon made three of his four attempts and finished with 11 points. And 17 rebounds, three less than the Mountain Ridge team. And five assists. And a host of other little things that don’t show up in a scorebook.
If ever there were a trap game for Bishop Walsh, it was Friday night’s. The Spartans were coming off a big City win, had one of the best sixth men in the area, Chris Scarlett, out with the flu and could have easily been tempted look ahead to this week, with games against St. Maria Goretti, which is 19-10, tonight, and Fort Hill, which will determine the City championship, on Friday.
Plus, the Miners, although hanging around the .500 mark record-wise all year, were 7-1 at home, had beaten Bishop Walsh at least once the last five years, and had never lost to the Spartans at home.
“I thought we did a pretty good job on Liam Rhodes and Quincy Redmon, scoring wise,’’ said Hobel. “But some of their other guys hurt us. They were very unselfish and made a lot of good passes, especially Redmon.”
Bishop Walsh coach Bob Boyle has the luxury of having 6-foot-6 Redmon and 6-foot-7 Lucas Bruck. He also has the luxury of having outside shooters like Rhodes, Billy Conroy and Hunter Marrale who keep opponents from clogging up the lane with sagging defenses.
Still, it doesn’t keep teams from trying to double- or even triple-team the ball when it goes inside. Boyle has preached to his big men that if it happens, find the open man.
The result on Friday? Twenty-two field goals and 14 assists. The Spartans shot 65 percent (13 for 20) in the first half and were still at 61 percent (17 for 28) with two minutes left in the third quarter. They ended up at 52 percent for the game (22 for 42), and 44 percent from the three-point line (8 for 18).
Want balance? Four players in double figures. And of the 22 field goals, 11 were in the lane or on fast breaks, and 11 were not.
“We started the season playing very well and then we hit kind of a lull, a period when we weren’t playing all that well,’’ admitted Boyle. “But now I think we are peaking ... and just at the right time. I hope so, anyway.”
All five Bishop Walsh’s starters and Scarlett are seniors. Mountain Ridge started three sophomores and had two others play significant minutes coming off the bench. With a number of promising players on the jayvee and freshman teams, the Miners likely will be making a big mark on the area scene soon, and for an extended period of time.
This year, if the Miners can win two of their final three games they would have a winning regular-season record, something few teams with so much youth have been able to claim over the years — and something even fewer will be able to boast this year because as the new week begins only five area teams have more wins than losses.
That’s rare. That’s unusual. That’s head-scratching.
Just like Friday night was.
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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