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Last line of defense Tyler-Cooper sets the tone for Albemarle across the board. PAGE 07

VOL 8. ISSUE 10 :: APRIL 21, 2017

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x’s and o’s



THE SIX Covenant baseball reaches maturity


ONE INTO THE OTHER Tyler-Cooper leads Albemarle in multiple ways


GAME TIME Albemarle boys lacrosse holds off Western


SEEING IT IN PERSON Why parity in girl’s basketball matters

Last line of defense VOL 8 . ISSUE 10 :: APRIL 21, 2017

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SHORING UP THE MIDDLE CHS boys soccer is off and running

vol 8. issue 10 :: april 19, 2017

Tyler-Cooper sets the tone for Albemarle across the board. page 07

S TA F F Bart Isley, Creative Director Bob Isley, Infrastructure Director Ryan Yemen, Creative Editor O N T H E COV E R Albemarle’s Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper M I S S I O N S TAT E M E N T Local sports are the lifeblood of every community in America, and we’re here to reach beyond the basics and give compelling accounts about Central Virginia athletes to our readers. CO N TAC T U S [ e ] info@scrimmageplay.com [ p ] 434-249-2032

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Pitcher perfect Orange County’s Bradley Hanner had a perfect game against Powhatan two weeks ago. Against Monticello on April 18, Fluvanna County’s Kevin Ward threw 72 pitches. He threw seven innings. All of them perfect. It’s the year of the pitcher in the Jefferson District and the Fluco freshman sent a reminder that it might stay that way for quite some time in his team’s 9-0 win over the Mustangs. ✖ (Photo by Bart Isley)

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ALTER EGOS Stephen Yoder Building Trades Steven Yoder was a little bit of an x-factor for Albemarle football this year, yet another speedy, dangerous weapon on an offense filled with playmakers. While his touches were few in an offense that spread the wealth, he made the most of them, piling up 188 all-purpose yards on less than 20 touches. Yoder is part of the building trades program at CATEC, where he’s working on the class’ current house project, doing everything from wiring and plumbing to framing. The class has built doghouses before taking on the house and Yoder has learned how to use a variety of tools. “My uncle built his own from the ground up,” Yoder said. “It’s an important trade to learn if you get involved in the building stuff, it can really help you in the long run.” And like he experienced during Albemarle’s historic season last fall, working together is the key. “The more people you have the quicker it gets done, the more teamwork you have the better you do,” Yoder said.

College Track students taking an early step in their career

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First Quarter Shoring up the middle Charlottesville boys soccer off to strong start By Bart Isley


Captain Alex Pfister bolsters a loaded mid-field for the Black Knights. (Bart Isley)

{ LOPSIDED } Goals scored for vs. scored against for CHS through seven games.




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harlottesville’s boys soccer team was one win away from a state tournament berth in 2016. One win away from being the third local boys soccer squad along with to qualify for the VHSL state tournament.

Despite a tumultuous 2016 season where coach Stephan Cost had to leave the squad in his assistant coaches’ hands for stretches to take care of a sick family member, the Black Knights were again on the doorstep of a state tournament berth. But Park View tripped up CHS 4-2 in the Region 4A West semifinals, leaving the Black Knights short of a state berth in a challenging Group 4A field. One gets the impression that Charlottesville is tired of being on the outside looking in and that’s created a singular focus. “Our main goal is to go to states,” said Abibi Osman after opening the year with a win over Monticello. “We have a goal to win states and we’re all engaged in accomplishing that.” Osman is one player that can certainly help Charlottesville take the next step. He’s an electric forward who earned All-Scrimmage Play honorable mention honors as a junior. “He’s working real hard, he’s real good at turning the ball,” Cost said. “He’s really bought into this season and he’s a leader on the team. What you see on the field during games is what you see in practice. He’s a hard worker.” But Charlottesville always seems to have talent up top as a parade of dangerous strikers have come through the program. The difference this year is that Osman is just the tip of the iceberg. The Black Knights’ have a ton of depth in the midfield, the kind of depth that can help Osman do what he does best. “We have like eight center midfielders, we can play anybody in the midfield,” Osman said. “We have a lot of talent there. Like Campbell (Brickhouse), he played up top with me today (against Monticello in a season opening 8-0 win), but he could play anywhere in the mid-

field, center-mid, defensive-midfielder, where ever, (just) like Alex Pfister.” Pfister was a first team All-Scrimmage Play pick as a junior. The graduation of Hussein Osman, a first team All-Conference and All-SP honoree and now plays for Richard Bland College hurts, but Brickhouse showed an early ability to complement Abibi Osman with a two-goal, three-assist effort in the season opener against Monticello. Evan Blow also got in the mix with two goals and three assists. The way the Black Knights maintained possession against the Mustangs was perhaps the most indicative of how good they can be though. It wasn’t just long scoring runs, the midfield held its shape throughout, shutting down potential attacks by the Mustangs and keeping the ball in the offensive zone throughout. Playing in the same district as Western Albemarle and Albemarle is a huge advantage for the Black Knights, as those four games should leave them well aware of what level they’ve got to play at to reach the goals they’ve accomplished. Playing two defending state champions that many times is exactly the kind of litmus test a talented roster needs, and so far so good as they beat Albemarle and Western in their first two meetings. “It’s going to be an interesting season, we’re working real hard in practice and there’s kind of a purpose to this season. We focused on our goals, regionals and then states and going further every year. Part of the reason people are serious is because there are serious goals at the end of the year.” ✖

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College Update

We’ve gone digital

St. Anne’s-Belfield lacrosse alums team up at Princeton

But you can have it in print too!

By Ryan Yemen They were a terrorizing force in the LIS when they played together from 2013 to 2015. St. Anne’s-Belfield alumni Julia Haney and Annie Cory are two of the best talents to have played for Saints coach Mary Blake. That’s saying something as Blake’s program has been the bellwether of girls lacrosse in Central Virginia for 30 years now. The fact that Haney and Cory were just a year apart allowed the Saints to put together a string of VISAA Division 1 state tournament showings. Now with both at Princeton, the Tigers are hoping that the Saints alums wind up being as effective together now as they were a few years ago. A two-time Scrimmage Play player of the year that scored 359 goals for STAB, Haney worked her way back from injury to play in five games for Princeton as a freshman. Now as a sophomore, she’s played in eight of the Tigers’ 12 contests. Haney has scored four goals (and on just six shots) while also contributing a pair of assists. Last year Cory helped the Saints put

together a second straight VISAA D1 final four showing and took over for Haney as SP’s girls lacrosse POY. Cory scored 294 goals while at St. Anne’s-Belfield and it was only fitting that playing in her first collegiate game, one in Charlottesville against the University of Virginia on February 25, the Princeton freshman picked up her first goal. Cory has seven goals and six ground balls on the year and has played in all 12 games so far. As for the the outcome with UVa? The homecoming trip for Haney and Cory was a good one with the Tigers defeating the Cavaliers 17-10 in front of a crowd of 653 fans. With a 10-2 record so far, Princeton sits seventh in the nation in the standings. With just three games left in the regular season, the Tigers will jump into the Ivy League Tournament on May 5 before trying to make a run in the NCAA Tournament which begins on May 12. As they did with STAB, don’t be suprised if Haney and Cory find a way to make an impact come playoff time. ✖

BELOW » Julia Haney (left), Annie Cory (right) and STAB coach Mary Blake (middle) meet after the former Saints helped Princeton top Virginia. (Mary Blake)

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A six-pack of Covenant baseball seniors are in the processing of restoring a once proud program to greatness.

story by bart isley photos by ashley thornton and bart isley

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The Bible’s Proverbs

27:17 has been turned into a cliche in the sports world and rightfully so, there’s an inherent, simple truth in it. It has been put on the back of t-shirts, it has been bandied about by any manner of coaches. It reads most poetically, as many verses do, in the King James version: “Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Great players make other players around them better. But that isn’t enough. Both the iron that’s sharpening and the iron being sharpened have to be united in a common goal. They have to want to sharpen each other.

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6 “Each Person brings something new to the table so we find that we’re always having fun together.” - Moore

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It’s not a big secret that the travel and club baseball world is packed with individual agendas. Nearly everyone is looking out for themselves, their college aspirations, their own performance. That’s not a judgement call, that’s how the system is set up. For players to open up collegiate opportunities, with team goals, records and wins taking a back seat to a word that has become the coin of the realm — exposure. Those individual agendas have crept into the baseball world more than other sports because the travel system has been in place longer and gained more of a position of power there than in any sport but maybe basketball. High school baseball is a different animal though. Individual agendas don’t win state championships. They may win some games, but frankly that’s hard to pull off too. High school baseball demands a culture. It demands clear expectations, often established over a period of time, to win. Three years ago, Covenant set out on a journey like a lot of teams with a strong talent pool to meld those worlds at the high school level under Jeff Burton who’d cut his teeth as a youth and travel baseball coach. The Eagles took a sizable group of travel players and pieced them together with another pack of players in a program that had seen some success as recently as back-to-back 2010 and 2011 state title showings with a championship in the latter. While most area teams have travel players on their squad, they’ve often grown up playing with the other guys on the roster or going to school with each other. Covenant didn’t have that foundation. They went to work building a culture while also helping players reach their individual goals, including six of them who, together, on a single day in November made it official that they were playing college baseball. Jake Haney and Will Moore to William and Mary. Tyler Mahone to Longwood. Luke Burton to Davidson. Trent Miller to Bridgewater. Blake Schaar to Eastern Mennonite. Fittingly, they took the formal part of that step together, as a group. “When I think of baseball I think of a family, it’s really important to me that I have guys beside me that want what I want,” Haney said. “We all have passion for winning and being good together.” Spending as much time as they do together hasn’t made the Eagles’ six senior standouts sick of each other either, which is probably a triumph on its own. “Each person brings something new to the table so we find that we’re always having fun together,” Moore said. That family feel started for Miller when he first experienced the program’s Evolution workout, held right before the start of the spring season. It’s a rigorous, military-style workout based around the program’s foundational values. There are

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6 “When I think of baseball I think of a family, it’s really important to me that I have guys beside me that want what I want.” - haney

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mud crawls, tire flipping plus myriad other obstacles and challenges. Some years, snow adds an extra wrinkle into the process. It’s a brutal challenge, but it helps push Covenant’s roster together. “It really puts you through a lot of mental stuff to push yourself and make sure you finish (during the season),” Miller said. That kind of bonding means a lot and Covenant has found a way to form the tightness quickly, without the advantage of everyone playing little league ball or going to middle school together. That’s created the desire to work with each other and help each other get better. They’ve got a common goal, a common love and a common focus. “It’s been pretty incredible,” Burton said. “I knew Will a little bit from travel ball before I came to Covenant but since then we’ve all become best friends. We started to mold as soon as we got here. In class, outside of class, on the baseball field.” That bond means that when the chips are down, the Eagles know they can lean on each other. But that bond isn’t the end all either for the seniors. They’re not just a cohesive unit. They’re a productive, potent group as well, contributing all over the field, and the numbers bear that out. Like most of the Eagles, Miller pitches and plays a number of different positions, ranging from right field to behind the plate. This year, through 21 games, he’s averaging .393 at the plate and he’s already knocked in 17 runs. On the mound he’s gone 3-1 and pitched 15 innings and struck out 18 batters. Bridgewater-bound Miller isn’t the only senior who’s contributing on both the mound and on the hill. The Eagles use Haney, Burton, Mahone and Moore in a variety of ways, moving them around. That’s in part a necessity because Covenant plays a lot of games, and even with a large roster, that’s going to force players to do a lot of different things well, and that quartet has proven up to the challenge. Haney, a first team All-VISAA pick as a junior and a William and Mary’s signee, has


struck out 49 in 25 innings of work while also knocking in 17 runs and scoring 22 of them in 20 games. He’s also drawn a team-high 16 walks while striking out just seven times. Burton, the squad’s stolen base and batting average leader was a two-time AllState pick as well as a first team All-Scrimmage Play selection as a junior. This year he’s hitting .500 with 22 RBI and another 29 runs scored to along with 19 stolen bases. On the mound he’s struck out 19 in just 11.2 innings while surrendering just five runs. He could play in a number of different spots for Davidson. Moore, the 6-foot-4 righty headed for William and Mary too, is hitting .441 and has knocked in 25 runs including a team-high four home runs. His sinkerballer has been essentially unhittable this year with Moore giving up just four hits in his first 19 innings. He’s sporting a 1.93 ERA over 29 innings pitched with 43 strikeouts. Mahone, who was on Longwood’s radar early in his high school career before pledging to the Lancers, has been rock solid in his four opportunities on the mound with a 2.40 ERA. He’s struck out 14 in 11 and two thirds innings. At the plate he’s been solid too, hitting .359 with three homeruns and 22 RBI. Schaar hasn’t pitched this year, but he’s a tremendous outfielder and one of the squad’s fastest players, swiping eight bases while producing six RBI and scoring 16 runs. All those strong numbers from the senior group of six plus breakout performances from freshman Declan Kent and sophomore Wes Arrington and others have powered Covenant to a 14-2 record and key early season wins over defending state champion Greenbrier Christian and another 2016 VISAA Division II playoff team in Steward. That sets up a big stretch run, a hugely important finish to a multi-year process. “We have six guys going after the same thing,” Haney said. Like they brought each other along the last couple of years, they’ve brought the rest of the roster in on pursuing that same thing too. They’ve got the entire squad locked in and focused. The report card on Covenant baseball’s current incarnation is starkly obvious right now. Individual goals? Attained. Six different seniors from a single team heading to play that sport in college doesn’t happen often anywhere, in any sport. Brotherhood? Created. The way that the Eagles’ six seniors talk about each other, you’d think they’d played in the same sandbox as toddlers. Championships? Incomplete. After two years of getting knocked out of the state VISAA Division II tournament in the state quarterfinals, the Eagles know they have something left to prove on the field. But they don’t have anything left to prove to each other. Covenant’s gang of six has helped build a new culture, set a new standard and bonded together. They’ve sharpened the iron, now they’ve got one more chance to see what the iron can do. ✖

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story by Ryan Yemen Photos by Ashley thornton, david baladan, tom Pajewski & Bart Isley

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"that was big time for us. I knew at the end of the season that I had to play well for my teammates." - Tylercooper

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The Patriots were left reeling. But they had Tyler-Cooper, an athletic standout with the skills and experience to essentially become a point-forward. So the Patriots leaned on their senior for just about everything from individual skill to team leadership. You can do that to Tyler-Cooper. It doesn’t bother her. In the spring she’s the goalkeeper for one of the area’s perennially great soccer programs. So while not surprising but still impressive, TylerCooper answered the call during basketball, scoring 11 points and dominating the glass in a defensive struggle with Halifax in the Conference 16 semifinals to give Albemarle a 40-36 win. For a team to go from a veteran crew to having just one senior on the floor playing with a group of underclassmen in the playoffs, getting to the Region 5A North tournament was a building block for this girls basketball program that will pay dividends for quite some time. “I’m so proud of Aiyanah because she became such a leader, provided us this calmness,” Proudfoot said. “She just stepped up and delivered. At any given team she played at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 for us.” The role she played in February is not lost on her. Tyler-Cooper is fully aware that she was being counted on, but the way she tackled the job speaks to her overall mentality. “That was big time for us,” Tyler-Cooper said. “I knew at the end of the season that I had to play well for my teammates. I didn’t think of it as I just had to become that leading scorer, a number one scorer. I thought about how my teammates would step up if I was hurt, so I came at it from that approach.” But as important as Tyler-Cooper was, particularly late in February for the Patriots, the toll of basketball season made her even more important for the spring. With Eiden, the soccer team’s leading scorer from last year nursing an injury coming in, and then shutdown defender Ridenhour sidelined for good with her knee injury, Tyler-Cooper’s presence in net officially became more important. The Patriots’ defense posted 17 shutouts last season en route to a Group 5A final four showing, the first ever for the program. Sophomore Madison Kersey was a sophomore that year and played a pivotal role in helping the Patriots simply clamp down on offenses and give Tyler-Cooper the best opportunity to make easy saves and get the ball rolling the other way. For Kersey as a junior, having confidence behind her allows her to more effectively do her job, something that’s more crucial now with Ridenhour out.

TEAM SPOTLIGHT ALL-STAR BASKETBALL The talent was rich this year in boys basketball and thanks to the local basketball community, we got the first Central Virginia All-Star game that pitted seniors against one another. In some cases it was teammates facing off against each other. The game allowed fans to see the best players from all the various schools across the area on one court.

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"i've gotten used to feeding assists to different scorers and scoring myself but defending is just so different." - Eiden

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“Having Aiyanah behind you, it’s the best feeling the world as a back line defender because it’s not only how good she is on the field, but the energy she has on and off the field is just so motivating,” Kersey said. “She makes you want to work harder. It’s such a nice feeling that she’ll always have your back. Her communication is amazing and then again, her energy. Those things set her apart from other goalies and if you see her play you know how talented of a goalie she is to begin with.” Of course, then there’s Eiden. She’s headed to Coastal Carolina to play in college and in March she was cleared to play again. But her role as an offensive facilitator or finisher has become more complex too. Sherrill came into the season thinking since Eiden is expected to be a defender in college, why not have her move around the field all season, much in the same with Proudfoot did with Tyler-Cooper during basketball season. “With Anne out we’ve talked about me playing forward and then also splitting some time playing defense,” Eiden said. “That’s a really cool challenge. I have gotten used to feeding assists to different scorers and scoring myself but defending is just so different. It’d be cool to help the team that way. I’m excited that Coach Sherrill sees me as being that versatile. I don’t feel pressure as much I feel excitement. I just want to do everything for this team.” While Tyler-Cooper and Eiden have epitomized the yeoman attitude on the field, on the sidelines, the Patriots still have their bulldog. Keeping Ridenhour away from basketball or soccer just doesn’t happen because she’s sidelined. So now they have a player coach. Because her knee injury was not going to keep Ridenhour from contributing, or learning more about the game. She even game a pregame speech late in basketball season. “My role now is trying to be a leader and trying to bring a positive attitude to everyone,” Ridenhour said. “It’s definitely tough not being on the field playing with all my friends everyday but what matters is being there for them in any way I can. I’m going to see soccer from a different position if pursuing coaching is something I want to do. I’m going to be better because of this, it’s kind of an opportunity.” That’s what Proudfoot and Sherill have found a way to build. There’s a common thread between the two programs where it’s always about finding a

way to contribute. If an injury strikes, it’s the next person up. Between the aforementioned and players like Makinna Winterton who took a huge step forward last year on the soccer field and then another this year on the court, one hand in each sport is washing the other. But at the end of the day, there’s confidence in having a keeper like Tyler-Cooper for Albemarle soccer, a squad with aspirations to top last year’s final four showing. And for Tyler-Cooper, doing that would be the perfect capstone. She’s always had a love and passion for soccer, and she came to playing goalie in such a perfect, typically Tyler-Cooper way. “I started playing both when I was seven but I had always considered soccer my number one sport,” Tyler-Cooper said. “When I started playing travel soccer around sixth grade our team needed a goalie. I hadn’t played too much but with my asthma I thought this would be cool, I could play a little out in the field and then play a little in goal. And then I just discovered I loved it.” For a defensive-minded team like Albemarle where the talent in front of Tyler-Cooper is equal to the keeper, it results in a 7-1-2 start. As the Patriots configure themselves and shuffle things around one thing is clear — it won’t be easy to get to the senior keeper who’s headed to UNC-Greensboro to play next year, and she’ll be the first to tell you that. “They are powerhouses, all of them back there,” Tyler-Cooper said. “The communication is amazing. They stop tackles. They intercept passes. They find the mid-forwards. Even if things get back to me I’m able to find them to clear it out.” Tyler-Cooper adds shutouts to her career total like it’s no big deal. Try eight so far this year. That’s 25 and counting in just the last two years. “It’s so cool seeing that her name is now in the top ten for most shutouts in a season after last year,” Sherrill said. “I think a lot of people get shot over the moon when they see her play but for us it’s like, yeah, we see it every single day. She’s such an athletic kid. She’s really coachable too and that makes things even better, but it’s all about her tenacity. She gets the job done.” For seniors like Tyler-Cooper, Eiden and Ridenhour to bond like this over two sports together, it’s something special. Something they’ll treasure for a long time. “All of us have really just been friends and together for such a long time that it’s something that we stayed with,” Tyler-Cooper said. “It started playing YMCA ball and then eventually you’re at Albemarle. We just all stuck with it.” Much to the delight of two programs and an entire student body. And there’s still so much left that this group can accomplish. That’s a pretty serious legacy for a group of multi-sport athletes. ✖

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Game Time

Albemarle 15, Western 13 By Bart Isley

Senior mid-fielder Joe Mallow has made an impact felt with an increased role. (Bart Isley)

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The immediately recognizable names for Albemarle’s boys lacrosse team are few and far between. There’s explosive scorer Lorenz Brown. There’s lockdown defender Brice Green. After that, there’s a bunch of guys who have a lot to prove. You can check toughness off as one thing they’ve proven after the Patriots withstood a huge surge by Western Albemarle to snag a critical 15-13 victory in a rivalry clash with the Warriors Tuesday night. “We’re a lot of unknowns which is why we look at each other and we’re like ‘who are we, what are we going to do here?’,” said Albemarle coach Dave King. “But that’s the effort we’ve been looking for.” Brown scored a pair of goals and dished out two critical assists and drew a lot of attention from the Western defense. But that attention he drew played a big role in opening things up for Sam Mallow and Silas Beers. Beers notched a hat trick while Mallow led the Albemarle attack with four goals. He got Albemarle’s scoring started with a big-time finish in the first quarter, dropping his shoulder, bowling over a defender before unleashing a strike. “I was thinking about my brother (Joe Mallow) because he wore this number (22) last year and he was a hard hitter,” Mallow said. “I wanted to make him proud tonight. So I decided to lower the shoulder and finish with a goal.” Mallow fits the profile for this year’s edition of the not-so-flashy, blue collar Patriots, getting his first shot at extensive playing time as a senior, and against the Warriors he capitalized. While Mallow’s early goal set the tone and helped the Patriots build a 7-3 lead, Western refused to go away easily. Late in the third quarter, Western fought all the way back to tie the game on A.J. Donovan’s fourth goal at 9-9 and then took the lead with 4:17 left in the third

on Donovan’s fifth goal to make it 10-9. “They took it to us tonight, we gave them a lot of opportunities tonight and they took advantage when we did,” said Western coach Alex Whitten. “But my teams always play hard, but they’ve got to couple the effort with the execution. They fight all the way back from down 7-3 and then you’re up 10-9, two penalties, three bad turnovers and you’re down and all of the sudden you’re scrambling again.” Albemarle counterpunched with some help from those penalties and turnovers, reeling off three straight goals to close the third and take a 12-10 lead. Mateo Maughlin scored two of those three goals, another senior who has worked his way into a significant role for the first time this year. In the fourth, Albemarle kept the Warriors at arm’s length, with goalie Ryan Richardson, another first-year starter, stepping up in a big way with a three-save sequence that was a huge momentum swing midway through the frame. Richardson finished with 12 saves, withstanding a barrage of 45 shots from the Warriors who held a 45-36 advantage in that category. “We needed Ryan he’s a heck of a goalie, he puts his heart out there every game,” Mallow said. “Without him that would’ve been a totally different game.” After Richardson’s stops, Albemarle held on with Lorenz Brown eventually killing the clock and setting off a celebration for the Patriots. Albemarle’s Andrew Scanlon finished with three assists for the Patriots while Connor Warner had two goals and an assist. Forrest Warner scored twice for Albemarle. Donovan’s five goals led the Warriors while James Buetow and John Carr Haden each finished with hat tricks. Will Cory had three assists and a goal while Sam Herndon scored one and Jack Weyher had an assist. Ben Kunkel had eight saves in the cage for Western. ✖



Program Profiles: FUMA Basketball School There aren’t many basketball camps that can claim the legacy of Fork Union’s Basketball School. Founded in 1985 by legendary Fork Union postgraduate basketball coach Fletcher Arritt, the FUBS has inspired, taught and trained legions of young basketball players. Now run by current FUMA postgraduate basketball coach Matt Donohue, Arritt will be at the camp this year too, giving campers top notch instruction. Arritt has helped send more than 200 Fork Union players on to Division I basketball, where they’ve often thrived, including four alums who played for squads in the NCAA Division I March Madness tournament this year. The camp has also helped foster a love for the game that extends well past the college basketball ranks, impacting and developing local players and coaches who’ve gone on to be strong contributors to the local prep basketball community. The camp is available for boys and girls from second to 12th grade and runs for five days from July 9-13. Male campers can opt to board or participate as day campers. It’s a chance to be part of a wide-ranging basketball legacy, to join the ranks of players who’ve honed their skills while developing good sportsmanship and the importance of teamwork at Fork Union Basketball School. For more information head to: http://www.forkunionbasketball.com/camp

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A tradition unlike any other When it comes to Augusta, you have to see it in person


ike many kids who were into golf at an early age, I played Augusta National in my backyard. Using plastic practice balls with holes to prevent carry distances into the neighbors’ yards, I hit into the green at 12 or carried Rae’s Creek on 13 to set up an eagle putt, envisioning winning a championship and pulling on the iconic green jacket late on Sunday afternoons. Those moments, those feelings conjured from thin air after watching those tournaments, are what made my pilgrimage to Augusta this year for a practice round incredibly special. My father introduced me to golf and forever linked us in conversation or viewing, the basis in many ways for our bond. He worshiped Arnold Palmer, a zealous member of Arnie’s Army. I idolized Jack Nicklaus, the Golden Bear. I played on my high school golf team for four years with good friends. I got to know my father-in-law on the golf course, he was fond of the Izod cardigan sweater. I played in father-son tournaments with my kids and I’ve enjoyed rounds with my daughter and son-in-law. Golf has remained a part of my life since very early on and I’ve dreamed of seeing specific courses up close for that combination of ambience and architecture. I’ve always wanted to and in several instances gotten the chance to relive the shots that had dramatic impacts on the game and dramatic impacts on my love of golf. I was fortunate to attend Monday’s practice round at Augusta this year with my wife, daughter and son-in-law. No there weren’t many roars or many players on the course, but the course was pristine. An “Augusta” green was predominant on the fairways and light rough. A lighter green on the putting surfaces as they were mowed close for tournament specs. I worked on a golf course during summers in college and used to walk behind a greens mower much like those being used this Monday morning. Crossing the fairway on the 15th hole and looking down at the green, I remembered Jack’s second shot there in 1986. Standing in Amen Corner, I could remember the roar of Larry Mize’s chip in to beat Greg Norman in a playoff on 11 in 1987, the countless tragedies at the 12th hole, the booming tee shots coming off the 13th tee hoping to catch the slope that offers an opportunity at eagle. Everywhere there are memories and because of the course’s consistent look, time can’t rob any golf fan of those moments. Nothing fades at Augusta, history is always there. I stood near the spot on the 16th hole where, in 2005, Tiger Woods hit his unbelievable chip up the slope of the green with the imagination and confidence that it would come back down to the hole and with a slow enough roll for the Nike logo to be a part of the memory. I thought about Jack Nicklaus’ putt at 16 from about 40 feet away in 1975 as Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller looked on from the tee. How Jack and Tiger could overpower this course during their primes speaks to the uniqueness of their talent. Although magnificent in its beauty, I was struck the ghosts of shots and rounds gone

22 :: @scrimmageplay

“Everywhere there are memories because of the course’s consistent look.”

by. Of legends in victory and defeat. The dramatic voices of announcers Jim McKay, Chris Schenkel, Henry Longhurst, and Verne Lundquist echoed in my head. Memories of a making those shots in my backyard. Of the unique bond with your dad, a special bond with your father-in-law. The ongoing enjoyment of family play days. Much like Fenway Park is to baseball, Lambeau Field is to professional football, Augusta National is to golf. It’s the place where the ghosts and memories still live. ✖

Bob Isley,

back talk »


What sporting events and/or facilities do you hold sacred? bob@scrimmageplay.com

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Profile for Bart Isley

Volume 8, Issue 10  

Volume 8, Issue 10