Sometimes, even when a varsity boys basketball team team isn't on the side of a decision it wants to be, a player, or players, still deserve to be recognized for standing out from the rest of the pack like a lone wolf howling gracefully on a mountain top against the backdrop of a clear, moonlit night.
Perhaps even a shooting star passes in the background.
Now that the playoffs are in full swing most moments come and go to quickly to be put on a pedestal or treated with the sensibilities of a greeting card, but when Community R-6 hosted North Shelby in round two of Class 1, District 10, on Thursday this contest was more akin to a bullfight than anything else. After all, any senior that lost was done forever, and that was enough motivation for Eric Hombs to score 16 for the Trojans on seven field goals, including a trio of triples.
Because head coach Matt Thomas clearly chose to roll with his upperclassmen against North Shelby, it's no surprise Blaze Escamilla found himself getting the opportunity to make four three-pointers to score 14. Even Evan Hartsock connected on a half-dozen field goals and a pair of free throws to match that point total, and with three double-digit scorers like that in this playoff game the Raiders would appear to have their hands full, to say the least.
There were just a couple problems with that, and it started with the 14 points scored by North Shelby's Kirby Latimer. Because Silas Presson and Grant Coe only complicated the matter by surrounding Latimer with 13 and 11 point showings, respectively, by the time the Raiders Dayton Mettes and Mason Uhlmeyer entered their nine and eight point submissions it would seem they'd done just enough to wrestle this game away from the Trojans 60-59.
This contest actually wasn't that physical as CR-6 was just 2-for-4 from the charity stripe and North Shelby, 11-12 overall, went 3-for-5. The real difference came down to quantity over quality with the Raiders making 22 field goals. That including three from behind-the-arc. The Trojans, 12-13 overall, on the other hand, only connected on 15 field goals, but eight were from behind the three-point line.
The Raiders played Wellsville-Middletown for the district title Saturday at Mexico.