Evan French is well-known in the area for his three-point bombs away shots.
But very early on in the Warren-Fort Frye boys' basketball game in Beverly last Saturday night, the 6-foot-3 Warrior standout revealed another shot in his arsenal: The dunk.
"I just saw an opportunity (after a steal), and I decided to go for it," French recalled. "It was my first high school dunk. I've been working on it."
Photo courtesy of Karen?Lang-Henthorn
Warren’s Andrew Drayer (32), Michael Hall (left) and Reece Patton (right) defend Waterford’s Cody Paxton (20) during boys’ basketball action in November. Behind Paxton is teammate Wyatt Porter. Warren is scheduled to play Lucasville Valley in the Ohio River Classic at Marietta College’s Ban Johnson Arena Saturday night.
French's uncontested, two-handed slam gave Warren a 4-2 advantage, and of course wowed the crowd. Sparked by his game-high 26 points, the Warriors would go to win a 73-57 come-from-behind decision.
It was a good bounce-back victory, because in Warren's previous game, it suffered a 66-60 SEOAL setback to visiting Portsmouth.
"That's just basketball for you," said Warren head coach Blane Maddox. "Portsmouth was a very good team."
Warren (4-1) is scheduled to play a number of good teams before tipping off league play at Jackson Jan. 3, 2014. After Fort Frye, there was Fairfield Christian Academy, which the Warriors beat 70-65 on Tuesday and then Lucasville Valley in the All-Power Ohio River Classic at Marietta College's Ban Johnson Arena 7:30 p.m. this Saturday.
"Lucasville Valley is a solid team," said Maddox, whose Warriors lost to Upper Arlington in last year's Ohio River Classic. "We'll be scouting them this Friday. It'll be a challenge for us Saturday."
Valley had a playoff-bound football team in the fall, and reportedly, a number of players on that squad also play hoops. A couple of players who bear watching will be Jordan West and Chris Flowers.
Closing out December, the Warriors are scheduled to travel to Bishop Watterson Dec. 23, and host Wheeling Park Dec. 30.
"The Portsmouth game at home was a setback, but we're making progress," Maddox said. "We just want to improve and get better every game."
At the Ohio River Classic, Warren is expected to start French, Reece Patton, Michael Hall, Aaron Mazurkiewicz, and Andrew Drayer. Some others to keep an eye on will be Blake Kidder, Marshal Church, Seth Hall, and Andrew Henthorn.
"We have three guys (French, Patton, and Hall) who don't come out very much," Maddox said. "But we have a solid bench."
French, incidentally, is 15 points shy of a career 1,000 points going into Saturday's game.
Also on the Ohio River Classic slate will be River vs. Federal Hocking at 9 a.m.; Belpre vs. Paden City, 10:45 a.m.; Fort Frye (girls) vs. Columbus Northland, 12:30 p.m.; Martin Luther King Jr. vs. Magnolia, 2:15 p.m.; Alexander (girls) vs. South Webster, 4 p.m.; Fort Frye vs. St. Clairsville, 5:45 p.m.; and Alexander vs. Eastern, 9:15 p.m..