By Gene Davis
The Zeps were well aware that this past week would be a tough one. On Tuesday the Zeps played Eastern District number one, the undefeated Monroe Central Seminoles; on Thursday they played number four River Pilots; and Friday they played number six Central Catholic Crusaders.
On Tuesday the Zeps scored the first four points and then the rest of the night it was all Monroe Central on their way to a 79-29 victory. First quarter the Seminoles led 24-14, and by half led 52-22. The third quarter the Zeps were held scoreless. Carsten Smith was held to 12 points of the Zeps’ total 29 points. This victory of the Noles put them one game from tying the series record at 30-29.
On Thursday the Zeps battled the Eastern District IV team, the fourth place River Pilots. This was a very different game with the Zeps pulling a 47-42 upset over the Pilots. The Zeps came out on fire. Carston Smith was six of seven from the field with three treys for 15 points. Dierkis Vincent had one trey, lifting the Zeps to a 21-11 lead.
The second quarter saw the Zeps cooling off, scoring just five points, but still holding on to a 26-21 halftime lead.
The third quarter saw the Zeps and Pilots trading points. Smith had two buckets; Weston Miley and Vincent each had one bucket with the Zeps holding on to a 34-30 lead.
Fourth quarter saw things get interesting. At the 3:33 mark, River tied the game at 38-38 and at the 2:19 mark River took their first lead of 40-38 with three Zeps starters fouling out. The Zeps were forced to use several reservist players. Landon Lively, Garrett Stottsberry, Hunter House, Colton McElfresh and Korbin Varhola each did their defensive part in the Zeps’ win. With the Zeps trailing 38-40, Carsten Smith then tied the game by making two foul shots. The next possession, Smith’s in-the-paint jumper put the Zeps back on top 42-40. Smith, Cale Bond and A.J. Carpenter’s foul shooting put the Zeps up 45-40. River made a bucket as the Zeps scored two more foul shots as time ran out for the Pilots.
Carsten Smith with his 29 points was named Game MVP. The game sponsors for the night were Mike and Lance Buckey from Buckey Disposal. This game was a rescheduled game. The Pilots won the first game of the season 61-44. The series now stands 12-22 River. The Zeps won the reserve contest 48-23.
The Friday night game saw the Zeps lose another heartbreaker 47-49, losing to Central Catholic in the last 10 seconds for the Crusaders’ first lead of the night. Carsten Smith again started out of fire scoring four for five with three treys and Weston Miley scoring one trey propelling the Zeps to a 19-11 score.
Second quarter saw Smith hit one trey, but he was called for his third foul. A.J. Carpenter stepped up and hit two treys, and Jarrett Wentworth hit one trey and Bond one bucket. At halftime the Zeps led 33-25.
Third quarter went sour. Midway through the third quarter Smith returned to the game. In less than a minute he was charged with his fourth foul. Bond then went three for five with one trey as Wentworth chipped in one trey, keeping the Zeps lead 44-38. Midway in the fourth Smith returned to the game and before he got down the court, he was charged with his fifth foul. Smith went 0 in the second half. Miley made the lone bucket in the fourth. Smith finished with 16 first half points. The Crusaders were 19 and 30 from the foul line. The Zeps five of 10. The series still favors the Zeps nine to five. The Zeps won the reserves game 45-35.
The Zeps’ next home game will be the rematch with Caldwell of the first game of the year, when the Zeps won 63-55. This promises to be one thriller of a game, and I’m expecting a full house. Caldwell is ranked ninth and the Zeps 10th in the district standings. The Zeps have a commanding series of 82-45, however the Redskins have won four of the last five encounters. This is the game where Shenandoah will recognize all the Queens since 1963; a 60 year tradition. Game time is 6 p.m.
On Friday the Zeps will travel to Fort Frye for the second game of the year. The Cadets won the first 71-66. Fort Frye holds a commanding lead of 43-79. Game time is at 6 p.m.