Vinton County 64, Nelsonville-York 56

Vinton County’s Eli Radabaugh (22) puts in a shot while head coach Matt Combs looks on during a game Friday at Nelsonville-York High School. Radabaugh scored 19 points in Vinton County’s 64-56 win.

NELSONVILLE — The Vinton County Vikings had a first quarter they would like to duplicate every game.

They followed it up with a second half they admittedly might want to forget.

However, when you add it all up, the Vikings got a road win inside the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division, and head coach Matt Combs will take it.

The Vikings raced out to a huge 18-point first-quarter lead, ultimately leading to a 64-56 win at Nelsonville-York’s Ben Wagner Gymnasium on Friday.

Vinton County (1-2, 1-0 TVC-Ohio) was nearly perfect over the first eight minutes, hitting 10 of 13 shots from the field. The Vikings made four of their five 3-point attempts, leading 27-9 after a Zayne Karr 3.

“First quarter was the difference in the game,” Nelsonville-York coach Blaine Gabriel said. “They jumped out on us 27-11 (by the end of the quarter). I don’t think they missed a 3 in the first quarter.”

Vinton County displayed the balance it will need to compete this year in the TVC-Ohio, as all five of its starters scored in the opening quarter.

The Vikings ended up with four players in double figures, certainly a recipe for success.

“What we need, I’d like to see four guys averaging double figures,” Combs said. “We need to do that on this team. I think we’re a little unique that way. We have really six guards that can all shoot and a couple bigs that are improving.”

That shooting was on display in the Vikings’ 45-point first half. Eli Radabaugh led the way with a 19-point effort, making 7 of 8 shots from the field. He added five rebounds.

Lance Montgomery, a three-year starter in the Vikings’ program, added 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

“Lance is capable of having some big nights, but what makes Lance great is he does a little bit of everything,” Combs said. “He defends. He rebounds. He blocks some shots, gets some steals.”

Karr finished with 13 points, six rebounds and two assists, while Braylon Damron had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Asa Davidson also added four points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.

“Davidson’s defense down the stretch was big,” Combs said. “He had a couple blocks, a couple steals.”

The Vikings all seemingly took turns making big plays in that first half. They went ahead 40-18 after Montgomery assisted on Damron’s 3-pointer.

Vinton County’s largest lead of the game came at 24 points, leading 42-18 after Karr scored in the paint with 1:55 left in the first half.

“First half, everything came so easy in terms of it seemed like every shot we took went in,” Combs said. “We had good spacing, good movement, good rhythm.”

Radabaugh’s three-point play allowed the Vikings to still lead 45-22 with 1:07 remaining.

The Buckeyes (3-2, 0-1 TVC-Ohio) got a spark with seven straight points to stop the bleeding at the end of the half. Drew Carter’s 3-pointer allowed N-Y to trail just 45-29 at halftime.

“There was a lift,” Gabriel said. “Our biggest thing was, we wanted to get that down to 10 to start the fourth quarter.”

The Buckeyes continued to scrap back into the game, trailing 53-42 after Keegan Swope scored off a feed from Joe Tome with 2:08 left in the third.

N-Y eventaully did get the deficit down to 10 points at 56-46 after Carter’s basket to start the fourth quarter.

“Tells you a lot about Nelsonville,” Combs said. “Tells you a lot about Blaine Gabriel, and those kids don’t quit. It got too close for comfort for sure.”

The Vikings only scored 19 points in the second half, but came up with the key baskets when they needed them.

Karr’s 3-pointer from the right wing pushed the Vikings’ lead to 61-48 with just over four minutes remaining. Radabaugh made a runner in the paint for a 63-50 edge with 3:43 remaining.

“Every time we’d get just right there, they’d hit a shot,” Gabriel said. “Coach Combs does a good job.”

The Buckeyes got as close as seven points, down 63-56 after Tome’s bucket with 1:32 left, but N-Y wouldn’t score again.

“We had chances to chip, chip chip, then we would miss a layup or we would miss an open shot,” Gabriel said. “Those are the kind of things that as we go, get a little more experience, we’ll be alright.”

Gail filled up the stat sheet for Nelsonville-York with 12 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and two steals. Carter led the team in scoring with 14 points, while Tome had 12 points. Swope added eight points, while Trevor Morrissey had four points and five assists. Trent Morrissey added six points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

“We’ve got three more league games before Christmas, hopefully. We’ll be ready,” Gabriel said.

The first of those comes Tuesday at Athens.

The Vikings will host River Valley on Tuesday. They’ll do so coming off a win thanks to a hot-shooting first half, and a grind-it-out second half at N-Y.

“I’m just proud of our kids for toughing it out because in the second half it just turned into one of those tough, gritty type games,” Combs said “Fortunately we figured out a way to hold on.”

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