Blue Lions defeat Vikings 69-60 in season opener


McARTHUR — The Washington Blue Lions varsity boys basketball team opened their 2022-23 season on the road at Vinton County on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

The Blue Lions got off to a slow start, committing five turnovers and only hitting one field goal in the first quarter. It was 16-5 Vinton County at the end of one.

The second quarter started off similarly, with the Vikings extending to a 21-8 lead. Head coach Shannon Bartruff called a timeout to settle the team down and the Blue Lions responded with back-to-back three-pointers from senior Raleigh Haithcock to cut the deficit to seven points.

Washington went on to outscore Vinton County 26-12 in the second period, giving them a 31-28 halftime lead.

The Blue Lions started the second half on a 6-0 run, extending the lead to nine points. The Vikings responded with an 8-0 run of their own to cut the lead to just three points midway through the third quarter. The end of the third quarter saw Washington ahead, 49-42.

Vinton County started the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run to tie the game at 49, before Washington put together a nice run of their own, outscoring the Vikings 14-1 to take a 63-50 lead with just 2:30 remaining in the contest.

The Vikings never got closer than a seven-point margin over the final two minutes, as the Blue Lions pulled together and came away with the victory, 69-60.

Statistically for Washington, John Wall led the Blue Lions with 21 points including going 15-17 from the free-throw line. Wall was followed by Tanner Lemaster who chipped in 17, Raleigh Haithcock scored 12 points, hitting four three-pointers, Isaiah Haithcock added nine points, Michael Bearden scored six, Micah Parks finished with three, and Garrett Rickman added one point.

The Blue Lions were 22 of 31 (71%) from the free-throw line as a team and committed 17 turnovers.

Statistically for Vinton County, Garrett Brown led the Vikings with 21 points, followed by Cobra Sharp with 12, Brayden Cain with eight, Ashton Allman and Jack Davidson with seven points each, Owen Hire with three, and Parker Shonborn with two points.

The Vikings were 9 of 21 (43%) from the free-throw line as a team and committed 17 turnovers.

In the junior varsity contest, Vinton County won, 46-43.

Statistically for Washington, Jacob Lindsey led the Blue Lions with 12 points, followed by Gage Merritt and Noah Haithcock, each with 10. Daryan Murphy scored five, Jakob Hoosier had three, Jeston Everhart scored two, and Javin Baker added one point.

Statistically for Vinton County, Hayden Reynolds led the Vikings with 24 points, followed by Nash Yates with 10, Aden Wrogeard with five, Scout White with three, and Cooper Hayburn and Ian Mohler with two points each.

In the freshman game, the Blue Lions defeated the Vikings 55-6.

Statistically for Washington, Javin Baker and Noah Haithcock led the Blue Lions with 14 points each, followed by Matthew Colflesh with nine, Jeston Everhart and Cooper Robertson with six, and Avery Wightman, Bryson Heath, and Miguel Utrera with two points each.

Statistically for Vinton County, Chase Greer led the Vikings with four points, followed by Donovan Holcomb with two.

Washington (1-0) is back in action on Friday for their home-opener against Adena. There will be no freshman contest, but the j-v game is set to tip at 6 p.m. and the varsity will follow.

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