Bobcats show off shooting skills, top Clarksville in season opener
By Scott Loftis
Based on first impressions, the Berryville Bobcats are going to be fun to watch this season.
Berryville opened the season with a 61-31 victory over Clarksville on Friday at Bobcat Arena behind 26 points from junior guard Landon Chester.
“For a first game, it went about as well as we could hope,” Berryville coach Brent Compton said.
Chester made three of his four three-pointers during a 14-point first half, then added 12 points in the third quarter alone before sitting out the fourth quarter with Berryville holding a big lead.
“He had a good night,” Compton said. “Twenty-six points in three quarters is not a bad night.”
Altogether, the Bobcats made nine three-pointers, including two each by senior Chris Lehr and junior J.D. Smith and one by senior Trenton Hutchison.
“We have the potential to be the kind of team where all five guys can shoot the three,” Compton said. “Hopefully, they’ll all be hot at the same time.”
Lehr and Smith scored eight points each for Berryville, which led 19-14 after the first quarter and 33-21 at halftime. The Bobcats turned the game into a rout by outscoring Clarksville 21-8 in the third quarter.
“The first quarter was a little bit slow,” Compton said. “We really started to pick it up in the second quarter and went from there.”
Chester, Lehr and Hutchison were joined in the starting lineup by a pair of sophomores — 6-8 forward Weston Teague and point guard Kade Davidson.
“We’ve got some young guys that are going to have to step in and play big roles,” Compton said before the Clarksville game. “We’ve got some guys who are long and can cover some ground. I do think we’re more athletic this year.”
The Bobcats also have depth, with 10 players expected to be in the rotation.
Senior Kelton Davidson gives Berryville a physical presence in the lane, while Smith provides scoring potential and can shoot from long range. Sophomore Kennon Helmlinger and senior Austin Franklin both will help, as well. Berryville could get a boost with the return of senior forward Scotland Lucas, who Compton said may be cleared to play around mid-December after suffering a preseason knee injury that forced him to miss Berryville’s football season.
“I think as the season goes on, we have the potential to have a pretty good basketball team,” Compton said.