We’ve made it to Friday and the weekend, and to begin December, there is a lot of basketball on the schedule the next couple days, beginning with Friday night when the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic tips off. The very first game of the event involves Highland County’s own Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs facing the Ripley Blue Jays at 6 p.m. in Southern Hills Athletic Conference play at the Patriot Center in Hillsboro.

On Saturday, Highland County has two games featuring three teams at the OVHC event with Fairfield facing East Clinton (4:30 p.m.), and for the final game of the event, the Hillsboro Indians take on the McClain Tigers at 9 p.m. in a Frontier Athletic Conference game, but more on those two games tomorrow morning.

Taking a quick look back at the Hillsboro boys basketball win against Eastern Brown on Thursday night, the Indians played well defensively, as their head coach Bruce Miles stated in a postgame interview, which helped seal the win. Another exciting part about the Indians was their balanced scoring attack with four players scoring in double figures.

Ethan Watson led with 14 points, followed with Josh Keets with 13, Phillip Mycroft with 12 and Jakwon Clark with 11 points. If that type of balanced scoring continues, how much fun will the Indians be to watch this season? Click here to read the game article.

As for Friday night, besides the Lynchburg-Clay game at the Patriot Center, the McClain Tigers will be playing in the Zane Trace Tip-Off Classic at 5 p.m., while Fairfield and Whiteoak will begin their seasons on the road too with SHAC games.

Basketball fans have a lot to look forward to this weekend, and best of luck to all the Highland County teams this season.

Friday, Dec. 1

Boys Basketball
- McClain at Westfall (at Zane Trace Tip-Off Classic)

The Tigers will be on the road for one of their four neutral site games Friday night when they face Westfall at the 2017 Zane Trace Tip-Off Classic. McClain has some new faces in their starting lineup (returning just two starters), as they lost much of their scoring from the 2016-17 season due to graduation, a season where they won one tournament game and played in the sectional finals.

In a preseason interview, head coach Jesse Mitchell said this year the Tigers’ focus is improving defensively:

“We need to improve defensively, all aspects of defense, especially rebounding and communication,” Mitchell said.

Westfall enters the game coming off a 2016-17 season where they finished 3-21 overall and 1-13 in the Scioto Valley Conference. Click here to read the McClain Tigers preview.

- Lynchburg-Clay vs. Ripley (Ohio Valley Hoops Classic)

The LCHS Mustangs and Ripley Blue Jays begins this season with a SHAC game at a neutral site with the two teams playing in the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic in Hillsboro at the Southern State Patriot Center. This is always an exciting way to begin the season, and it should be exciting to see how the Mustangs look with a bit of a new starting lineup compared to last season.

Of course the player to watch is All-Ohio standout Eric McLaughlin, who entering his senior year has been a varsity starter since his freshman season. Last year, McLaughlin scored 469 points as a junior, averaging a double-double with 20.3 ppg and 10 rpg.

As for the team itself, LCHS head coach Matt Carson said this during the preseason:

“Basketball seasons occur in three phases: What you think you’ll be, what you are and what you do to make it all come together. We want to make sure all three of those things consistently line up for us as the season goes on. For us, if we can strive to be the best defensive team we can be, no matter what defense we are in, we will be right there in the thick of things at the end of the season.”

Last season the Mustangs finished 15-8 overall. Click here to read the season preview for the LCHS Mustangs.

- Fairfield at Manchester

This should be a game of interest for Fairfield fans with it not only being a SHAC game, but for the fact this is basically an entire new starting lineup for FHS with most of their starters graduating from last season’s district semifinal team.

FHS first-year head coach Josh Howland said before the start of the season his team is working on the transition from the JV game to the level of play at varsity:

“The biggest thing — and we thought it would be the biggest thing — is transitioning from JV to varsity. Since we’re trying to transition basically seven or eight players from JV to varsity, the speed of the game in our scrimmage and just every day in practice shows we waste half a step here, half a step there and it costs us buckets at the other end.”

Beginning the season with the new lineup, on the road and in conference play should make for exciting times Friday night for the Lions. Click here to read the FHS Lions season preview.

- Whiteoak at Peebles

The Whiteoak Wildcats also open their season on the road with a new head coach in Blake Kibler, and with a lineup that will have differences compared to last season. WHS also will be playing in a SHAC game, taking on Peebles, a team who was second in Division I of the SHAC last year, but are now in Division II of the conference.

With the change within the program, Coach Kibler says his team has high expectations this season:

“Our expectations are very high for this group. We have a lot of upperclassmen with experience. We will also be very deep, maybe playing up to 10 players a night.”

Last season, WHS won one conference game and totaled four wins overall. Click here to read the WHS Wildcats team preview.


- Hillsboro at Northeastern Inv. (Friday at 5 p.m., Saturday at 10 a.m.)

The Hillsboro Indians begin their season with a new head coach in Greg Rhoads, who himself was one of the most successful wrestlers in Hillsboro history and has been an assistant coach in the program the past few seasons.

HHS has been building their program back up in recent seasons, so this is an exciting time for the team as they begin their season.

On this date in the archives: On Dec. 1, 2009, the McClain Lady Tigers defeated the Hillsboro Lady Indians by a 63-19 score. The Lady Tigers opened the game with a 22-1 run. Kate Hammond led MHS with 10 points as a total of 11 players scored points in the South Central Ohio League win. Click here to read the full article.