The gauntlet was laid down and the challenge was taken by the Venture Hawks basketball squad. Challenged by the Eagle from the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, the two squads met in battle before a full house on Sunday, Feb. 28 at West Union High School as the county’s newest hardwood rivalry began.
The Eagles found out very quickly that the legend of “Dunking” Darrel Grooms was no myth, as the Venture Hawks’ star sliced and diced his way through the representatives of the Sheriff’ Department for a game-high 48 points, scoring from every conceivable angle on the floor and helping to lead his team to a convincing 70-53 win. That final margin would have been larger except for a last-second three-point goal off the bench for the Eagle by some fellow named “Rogers.”
After the usual stirring rendition of the National Anthem by Hawks’ cheerleader Maria Sexton, the action began and the fans who filled the bleachers at WUHS got every bit of their money’s worth. With officials Jessica Thompson, Phil Rhonemus, and Tom Smith donating their time and swallowing the whistle at the most opportune times, the talented group of Hawks broke a first-quarter tie and from that point on dominated the over-matched Eagles.
With this particular basketball game, however, the final score may not have been the most important aspect of the day. Perhaps that was the smiles and laughs that filled the gymnasium, the performances of the Hawks’ cheerleading squad or the halftime show by the Ignite Dance Team, along with the many other activities coordinated for the day.
The game is so popular that it is the only fund raiser necessary for the Adams County Special Olympics and the People First program and according to one of the organizers of the day, Lizabeth Lafferty, the proceeds were up $1,500 over last year’s contest.
After the Hawks finished off their impressive victory, the crowd was entertained with the ping-pong ball challenge, a whip and nae nae dance off, and as the grand finale, Sheriff Kimmy Rogers taking a pie to the face as a result of his team’s defeat, all in good fun.
For more photos from Sunday’s action, check out page B3 in today’s Sports section.