ABINGDON, Va. — Having started the season later than most of its Mountain 7 District brethren, the boys basketball team at Abingdon High School is anxious to make up for lost time.
“We’re as ready as anyone,” senior guard Jake Thacker said. “I’ve prepared myself the whole offseason for this, so when the game starts, I am ready to go.”
Thacker certainly got out of the gate fast on Monday night as he scored 14 of his 22 points in the first quarter as the Falcons blitzed the Virginia High Bearcats, 81-44, for a nondistrict victory.
Two days after a 44-42 season-opening win at Gate City, Abingdon (2-0) had no letdown.
“Our kids are grateful they get to play and are invested, and they want to make the most of every opportunity,” said AHS coach Aaron Williams. “I think this kind of season that is scheduled, there could be a lot of ups and downs playing so many consecutive games, but we’ve got some good, experienced kids, and I trust that they are going to be ready to go.”
A senior guard, Thacker is among the proven veterans for the Falcons, and he averaged 13.6 points, 5.3 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game last season. He scored 20 points in a Region 3D tournament game against Northside from Roanoke and was a second-team all-region selection.
A three-point play that gave AHS the lead for good midway through the first quarter and a 3-pointer were among his highlights during that first-quarter scoring surge. Thacker also finished with seven rebounds and seven assists.
“He was getting out in transition and finishing well,” Williams said. “He’s worked really hard at his ball-handling and finishing around the basket.”
Thacker was the catalyst for the roll that Abingdon got on that Virginia High (0-2) never recovered from.
“We came out with good energy at first,” said VHS coach Julius Gallishaw. “Probably around five minutes into the game, they started hitting some shots, and we just couldn’t stop it.”
Chase Hungate had a game-high 23 points for Abingdon and scored eight straight points during one stretch early in the third quarter. Sophomore center Evan Ramsey added eight points and five blocks for the Falcons.
“If we get a couple of guys going, we can be pretty good offensively,” Williams said.
Junior Ajanni Delaney led Virginia High with 13 points and was the only scorer for the Bearcats to crack double digits. It was the first game for VHS since a season-opening loss to Richlands on Dec. 21.
“We’ve had a little time off and some games were rescheduled and things of that nature, but no excuses,” Gallishaw said. “Abingdon came out here and brought it to us; they were hitting shots, and we just couldn’t stop it tonight.”
“We wouldn’t trade our team for anyone else,” Thacker said. “We have a lot of experience with four starters back, and we have people coming off the bench with experience. There was no dropoff from the first group to the second group tonight, and that’s really special.”
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