Updated Sat, Dec 14, 2013 5:05 pm
The Rio Grande men’s basketball team is set to host the eighth annual Newt Oliver Coaches Classic this Saturday. Named after former RedStorm head coach Newt Oliver, the Classic also features six games for a pair of prep schools, several local high school teams and the Rio Grande RedStorm.
The RedStorm (6-3) square off against the Wilberforce Bulldogs (3-10) at 5:45 p.m., as they look to improve to 7-3 on the year. With a win, Rio will have its best 10-game start since the 2008-09 season. The RedStorm look to bounce back against the Bulldogs after a devastating 63-61 overtime loss last Saturday to Taylor University in the championship game of the Ivanhoe’s Classic.
In the loss to Taylor University, Rio shot just 33.9 percent from the field. The RedStorm will look to lead scorer Phillip Hertz, who is averaging 14.3 points a game, and Jermaine Warmack, who leads the team in steals and assists. Warmack also ranks seventh in Division I of the NAIA in free throw percentage, shooting nearly 93 percent from the charity strip.
After losing its first 10 games to start the year, Wilberforce has gone on a three-game winning streak including a narrow 85-82 victory over Washington Adventist University this past Sunday. In the win, Sean Cassidy, who scored a game-high 26 points and shot 5-of-6 from 3-point range, led the Bulldogs.
Cameron Luckett also added 19 points, and he currently leads Wilberforce with 17.6 points a game. While leading the team in scoring, Luckett has also made 41 3-pointers through 13 games, which ranks seventh in Division II of the NAIA.
This game, however, is only a small part of the weekend, as prep school Combine Academy from Charlotte, N.C., squares off against Spire Institute from Geneva, Ohio. High school teams in the Newt Oliver Classic include Chesapeake, Logan, South Point, Circleville, Oak Hill, River Valley, Gallia Academy and Tolsia. The Classic is dedicated to Oliver, who led the RedStorm to a perfect 39-0 record back in the 1952-1953 season.
The Bulldogs hope to improve their winning streak to four games against a Rio Grande team that is looking to defend its home court and make Oliver proud, as he will be in attendance for the game.