[This is my column from Friday’s issue of The Commercial Review]
It’s time for me to experience the real rivalry between Jay County and Fort Recovery high schools.
Just when I thought I had gotten a taste of it during the fall with volleyball, the winter season rolled around to usher the competition in another sport.
And the girls basketball game Saturday night didn’t disappoint.
The Patriots and Indians were both riding losing streaks, and Jay County was looking for its first win of the season on its home court.
Fort Recovery was limited to fewer than 50 points in each of its two previous losses after scoring at least 57 points in all four of its wins.
On the other hand, the Patriots had only scored more than 40 points twice all season and were 1-1 in those games.
The Tribe was favored on paper, but games are never decided that way.
Fort Recovery was 4-of-26 from the field in the first half Saturday, and the Patriots got out to a 29-18 lead. The Indians shot more than 64 percent in the second half to claw back into the game.
In the end, the Patriots held on to win 50-45 for their first win over the Indians in four years.
When the boys teams square off Saturday, renewing the rivalry after a four-year hiatus, it’s anyone’s ballgame.
Their last game, a 49-44 JCHS victory in 2008, was the school’s first win at Fort Site Fieldhouse.
When the Patriots lost Scott Schwieterman, Kegan Comer and Brock McFarland to graduation last year, the Jay offense was expected to struggle this season.
But through five games, the Patriots are 4-1 and have won three straight.
The Indians are 4-2 and coming off a tough overtime loss to Franklin Monroe after putting up 87 points in back-to-back blowouts.
And with JCHS senior Trey Teagle set to make his season debut Saturday, it makes the storyline for these two programs much more intriguing.
With all I have experienced so far with Indiana high school basketball — and what I have yet to encounter — Saturday’s match up is what I have anticipated the most.
It’s been circled on my calendar since the season began.