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Wild rival game for Wirt, Calhoun boys

December 7, 2012 - Jay Bennett
Anyone in attendance for the Calhoun County at Wirt County boys basketball game Thursday evening in Elizabeth was treated to quite a show and more than got their proverbial money's worth.

What looked like a Tiger blowout after the Red Devils scuffled out of the gate and trailed 13-0 turned into quite a contest that showed what high school sports and being a student-athlete is all about.

It's about having a never say die type of attitude and always giving it the best from start to finish. There's no question the athletes on the floor did just that for the entire 32 minutes in a game the Tigers won, 81-67.

Of course, Calhoun County never was able to come all the way back even though the Red Devils closed the deficit to 49-48 late in the third quarter.

I was obviously impressed by Tiger junior Kalob Bell breaking out for a game-high 31 points in the season opener. It's also worth a note that Bell picked up his fourth foul with 6:05 left in the third and had to sit the rest of the stanza. Bell had 20 first-half points, 13 in the opening eight minutes, and tallied his last 11 in the fourth.

Equally as impressive as Bell was Red Devil junior Ryan Slider, who was all over the place and finished with 30 points as he joined teammate Ricky Hall in posting the game's only double-doubles.

The Tigers got a big lift from Hunter McCoy with his 13 bench points, but so did Calhoun County from guard Lucas Wilson. Wilson played solid defense and did his best to shutdown Bell when he was in the game. Needless to say, Wilson's one point from the charity stripe didn't equate to what he meant for the Red Devils on the floor.

Also, kudos to Wirt County's lone pair of varsity freshmen — big man Tristan Nichols and guard Luke Smith. Although Smith didn't score and Nichols missed his first two varsity free throws, Nichols dropped in a shot from the elbow at the end of the third quarter for his first varsity bucket. It gave Wirt County a 56-53 lead entering the fourth and it was his classmate Smith who got him the ball.


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