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On Thursday, Coal Grove’s 55-54 victory over Fairland in girls basketball came down to the final 0:00.1.

The game was a tremendous battle of strong teams — the Hornets 11-1 going in, the Dragons 7-0. Coal Grove’s Addi Dillow and Kaleigh Murphy joined Fairland’s Tomi Hinkle and Kylee Bruce in making thrilling play after astonishing performance in a battle of two of the Tri-State’s better teams now tied for first place in the Ohio Valley Conference.

On Friday, Levi Blankenship scored 35 points to lift Chesapeake to a 76-68 victory over Gallia Academy in boys basketball in a double-overtime nail-biter that left fans, players and coaches spent.

Also on Friday, South Point’s boys rallied from 11 points down with 2:03 to play in regulation to edge Coal Grove 55-54 on Darryl Taylor’s last second basket in overtime. The Pointers mobbed Taylor in celebration afterward as fans left the building talking about what a great game they had witnessed.

In Kentucky, the Rose Hill Christian girls beat Greenup County last week to snap a 90-game 16th Region losing streak and spark a party on the court, with Royals players and fans smiling all around. Russell’s Charlie Jachimczuk and South Point’s Austin Webb each scored his 1,000th career point, drawing congratulations from teammates, as well as opposing players, coaches and fans.

On Saturday, Aiden Porter made a steal with two seconds left to preserve No. 14 Fairland’s 49-48 victory over No. 8 Eastern-Brown. Up river, Belpre edged South Gallia’s boys 58-53 in an overtime battle.

Meanwhile, West Virginia teams sit until games begin March 3. There is no sense in that.

Ohio and Kentucky have proven winter sports can safely be played. West Virginia, however, refuses to allow its seasons to begin, preferring to likely implement an overlap of winter and spring sports that will expose players to a greater chance of injury, make some choose which sport to play and undoubtedly will cause some small-school teams to decide whether to compete in baseball/softball/track or basketball/wrestling/swimming because they won’t have enough student-athletes to do more than one sport, if they play at all.

CONDOLENCES: Prayers are requested for the family and friends of former Brooke High School football coach Bud Billiard, who died last week.

Billiard coached the Bruins from 1979 through 2001 and went 185-79-1, with three state championships — 1985, 1987 and 1990.

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHEAST: The Beasts of the Southeast boys basketball showcase, one of the premier boys basketball events in Southern Ohio, has been canceled.

The event raises scholarship money for Chesapeake High School seniors. Anyone who would like to donate to the scholarship fund may do so by mailing a check to Chesapeake High, Athletic Department, 10181 County Road 1, Chesapeake, OH 45619.

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: West Carter’s Gage Leadingham scored 11 points in his first game back since suffering three broken ribs and a punctured lung in the football playoffs as the Comets (1-0) beat Fairview Saturday in the Kentucky 16th Region All-A Classic in Olive Hill.

RECRUITING ROUNDUP: Ashland linebacker Triston Rayburn and wide receiver J.T. Garrett committed to Kentucky Wesleyan.

Ironton linebacker Cameron Deere visited Tiffin, which offered Fighting Tigers wide receiver Trent Hacker. Wyoming East girls basketball player Skylar Davidson signed with Glenville State, which also signed Poca soccer standout Devin Ord.

River Valley softball star Sierra Somerville signed with the University of Rio Grande. East Fairmont cross country star Erykah Christopher signed with Marshall. Charleston Catholic basketball player Zion Suddeth committed to Wheeling University.

Fairland wide receiver Gavin Hunt picked up an offer from Alderson Broaddus. Wheelersburg basketball player Ellie Kallner signed with Concordia (Michigan) University.

NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES: Former Fairland football coach and Marshall defensive back Rashad Jackson of Glades Central High School in Belle Grade, Florida, was named the winner of the Lou Groza coach of the year award as top coach in Palm Beach County. Jackson led the Raiders to a 5-1 record in 2020.

Fort Thomas Highlands defeated Ashland 84-75 last week in boys basketball, snapping the Tomcats winning streak at 32 games. Former Fairland basketball star Emily Chapman was named the Cedarville University female athlete of the week for the second time this season.

Former Tolsia basketball star Coty Jude moved into the top 10 all time for 3-pointers at North Carolina-Asheville. New Boston’s Shelby Easter turned in a triple-double of 20 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocked shots in a game last week.

Brothers Baden and Kaden Gillispie, who played football at Cabell Midland, have transferred back to Lawrence County to play basketball. Ashland’s Tony Love was named Kentucky high school coach of the year by Bluegrass Preps. Former Huntington High star Jordyn Dawson scored a career-high 30 points Saturday to lead Akron to an 84-77 win over Miami (Ohio).

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