Blues Cruise By Craig

Blues Cruise By Craig
Blues Cruise By Craig
Blues Cruise By Craig

AT LEFT, PM sophomore forward Spencer Hamilton boxes out a Chatham player. Hamilton led the Blues with 20 points, eight rebounds and five blocks. BELOW LEFT, Fighting Blue junior guard Will Dunlap dribbles down the court while Chatham’s Shane Hunt chases him. Dunlap scored 13 points and added nine nine rebounds. BELOW, Putting up a shot is PM freshman forward John Snider while teammate Talen Roberts watches. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photos)

The Parry McCluer High School boys basketball team broke out of its offensive slump in emphatic fashion on Friday, coasting to an 83-32 Pioneer District win over Craig County in Buena Vista.

Will Dunlap posted 29 points and 10 rebounds to help the Fighting Blues (2-0 Pioneer District) snap a threegame skid. The Blues improved to 7-3 by trouncing Chatham 59-32 on Saturday at the Rock the Ribbon Roundball Shootout at Rockbridge County High School.

In the win over Craig, Spencer Hamilton notched 17 points and six rebounds for PM, while John Snider totaled 16 points and six boards and Durham Baker chipped in 12 points.

Colton Moore led the Rockets (1-4, 1-3) with nine points, and Bryson Taylor tallied seven points, seven rebounds and three assists.

The Blues had suffered three consecutive losses to a pair of the tougher teams on their schedule – two to Rockbridge County and another against Riverheads – scoring 44 points or fewer in each game. PM exceeded that total by halftime of Friday’s contest, when the Blues led 45-23.

“We needed it a lot,” PM head coach Mike Cartolaro said of the performance against Craig. “I thought we established a good rhythm, and that’s what we had talked about offensively.”

It didn’t take long for the Blues to get going. PM put together a 13-2 firstquarter run, going ahead 21-9 on Dunlap’s fastbreak bucket with just under a minute to go. The lead wouldn’t dip below double digits again.

Dunlap caught fire early, tallying 13 points in the first period and 19 by halftime. After being held in check by RC and Riverheads, the junior wing seemed to regain his early-season form on Friday.

“He’s got to look more for points and help us. He did a nice job of facilitating, too, looking and finding people,” Cartolaro said of Dunlap, who also notched three assists. “He had that look that he had back in early December, so hopefully that’s going to carry over.”

But Dunlap didn’t have to go it alone against the Rockets. The Blues placed four in double figures and also had 18 assisted baskets, with seven different players notching at least two dimes in the game.

And PM’s defense made the Rockets uncomfortable for most of the night, forcing 18 Craig turnovers. Dunlap and Talen Roberts each recorded five steals with some fierce on-ball pressure.

The Blues erased any doubts about the outcome in the early stages of the third quarter, starting the second half with 14 straight points to craft an insurmountable 59-23 advantage.

Snider had a monster third period, dropping in 12 points in that frame alone. Add in the dozen markers that fellow substitute Baker totaled off the bench – most of which came by way of a string of baseline jumpers – and the Blues are starting to develop some reliable depth in their frontcourt.

“They were exceptional tonight,” Cartolaro said of Baker and Snider. “Those guys played really well. Hopefully, that’s going to help their confidence. It gives us those two coming off the bench, and we’re trying to get some more help, too.”

Levi Law added seven points for Craig, and Josh Menezes finished with six markers. Trey Secrist pulled down five rebounds for the Blues, while Roberts and Ethan Moore each picked up three assists.

The Blues will continue district action when they visit Covington on Thursday, starting with the junior varsity game at 5:30 p.m. PM returns home to face Narrows on Saturday afternoon, with the JV tip set for 1 p.m. The Blues will then play host to Eastern Montgomery on Monday, starting with JV action at 5:30 p.m.