Around the Hardwoods With Wild Bill

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Well readers, here we go as basketball is under way and the high school hoops move into high gear. The season opened last Wednesday night and it looks like the Roanoke-area teams will bring a lot of excitement to the courts if week one is any indication.

Cave Spring, the two-time defending Group AA Division 3 State Champions battled William Byrd to a double overtime thriller on opening night before the Knight’s Storm Furrow hit a classic buzzer-beater to pull out the Cave Spring win. No small feat considering the Knights graduated 12 players from last season. Likewise, the game was the William Byrd coaching debut for Kevin Tuck, who took over for the Terriers after being the long-time assistant to Dave Culicerto. Good luck to Kevin for a well-deserved promotion.

On Friday night, the Hall of Fame Classic, played at Patrick Henry, showcased a strong field which left little doubt about the strength of both Patrick Henry and William Fleming. Jack Esworthy’s Patriots made it to the Group AAA semifinals last year and looked imposing in their easy win over Martinsville in Friday’s opener. Mickey Hardy’s Colonels look to rebound from last year’s 4-12 squad and Fleming showed a lot of promise as they gave talented Princeton Day (Md.) all they could handle.

Key games of interest in the area next week include Cave Spring visiting Northside and Byrd going to Hidden Valley Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Salem visits Patrick Henry.

Now, for the ‘let’s get ‘em ready for the college game early’ unusual game of the week last Monday night. In the girls JV preliminary, Cave Spring and Patrick Henry battled to a tie after regulation. There seemed to be a slight bit of confusion on how long the overtime should be, with the general consensus ranging from three to four minutes, along with one opinion of exactly 3 1/2 minutes. So, the officials made a compromise and put five minutes on the clock. (We didn’t understand it either.) They played out the entire five minutes with Cave Spring prevailing by four. Fortunately, they also led by two after four minutes, so it was all a moot point.

Let’s go to the mailbag where a little tip on photography technique is given and a college analysis is short and sweet.

Dear Wild Bill: I’m trying to get the hang of night photography. The owner’s manual for my camera states that at night you cannot expect a good picture if the subject is farther than 22 feet from the camera. Do you have any suggestions on this matter? (JoAnn/Riner)

Answer: You can achieve better results than that, JoAnn. Go out on a clear night, point your camera skyward and move the lens until you locate the moon. I feel confident in telling you the subject is farther than 22 feet.

Dear Predictor Bill: Do you think ACC basketball is still the elite conference in the land? (Harold/Tobacco Road)

Answer: Sorry, Harold, except for Duke, the ACC is currently in the tank as far as basketball. I heard an esteemed colleague say there was as much separation between Duke and the second place team in the ACC as there was between the second and last place team. I think he is right about Duke. And, the current AP Poll bears it out. The Blue Devils are the unanimous #1, while the rest of the top-25 is void of any ACC team. UNC does grab a few ‘others receiving votes’, but the rest of the bunch has left the galaxy.

Dear Esteemed Predictor: Do you ever predict the weather? I need to decide if I need to buy a snow shovel. (Maude/Clifton Forge)

Answer: I’ll break ranks and give you a heads up, Maude. Buy the shovel, some de-icer and a pair of snow shoes. It’s going to be deep.

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