Hawks drop close one to Highland County

Charlie Gardner, “Instant Offense” for the Venture Hawks, pulls up on his way to the basket in action from last Friday’s contest with the Highland County Wildcats.

Grooms scores 16 in Venture defeat – 

By Mark Carpenter – 

With their season winding down, the Venture Hawks basketball squad was in action on Friday, March 23, taking the hardwood at Peebles High School for a match up with the Highland County Wildcats. The Hawks put up a battle but fell short in the end, falling to the visiting Wildcats by a final score of 44-39.
The first quarter of action belonged to the Hawks as they dominated the offensive boards and muscled their way to a 14-6 lead. The Wildcats answered by starting the second stanza with a 7-0 run and holding the Hawks scoreless until just 30 seconds were left in the first half, when Venture’s Charlie Gardner scored to put his team up 16-13. The half ended on a sour note for the home team, however, as Highland County got two late baskets to jump in front 17-16 at the intermission.
Early in the third period, a long three-pointer from the corner by Kenny Nichols put the Hawks in front at 23-22, but the Cats responded with a 10-0 run to move in front 32-23. “Dunkin” Darrel Grooms, who led the Hawks with 16 points, picked up four of those points late in the third quarter to draw his team to within 32-27.
The back and forth excitement continued in the final eight minutes as a steal and score by Gardner coupled with a Grooms layup gave the lead back to the Hawks at 37-34, but again the Cats had an answer, reeling off eight straight to reclaim the lead for good. With 40 seconds to play, the Hawks’ Michael Bailey went coast to coast for a score but it turned out to be not quite enough as Highland County went on to pull out the victory by the final margin of five points.

It isn’t hard to conceive who likely won this argument between the Venture Hawks’ Connie Riggs, left, and referee Tom Smith during last Friday’s contest played at Peebles High School.

Grooms’ 16 topped the Hawks, with Bailey and Gardner adding 6 each. Chasity Glasscock scored 4, Kenny Nichols 3, and Dylan Lowe 2 to round out the scorebook.
Local fans of the Venture Hawks will have one last opportunity to see their favorites in action as the team will invade West Union High School at 11 a.m. on April 13, for their annual battle with the WUHS senior class.