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Newt Oliver Classic at URG Saturday

Randy Payton
U. of Rio Grande SID

RIO GRANDE, Ohio — A full day of basketball action is on tap for Saturday, with five games scheduled to comprise the 13th Annual Newt Oliver Coaches Classic at the University of Rio Grande’s Newt Oliver Arena.
The event, which is sponsored by the Rio Hard Work Camp, gets underway at 12:30 p.m. when Felicity-Franklin High School battles Fayetteville (WV) High School, while another boys’ prep contest between North Adams and South Gallia follows at 2 p.m.
North Adams head coach is former Rio Grande standout Nathan Copas. South Gallia is coached by Rio product Kent Wolfe.
At 4 p.m., Rio Grande will square off with Ohio State University-Mansfield before two more prep games — Meigs vs. Oak Hill and Dayton Northridge vs. West Union — close out the day at 6 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.
Oak Hill is coached by Rio alum Norm Persin who is a member of the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches’ Hall of Fame and the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame. Persin has won more than 720 games along with a state championship.
The event is named in honor of former Rio Grande coach Newt Oliver who guided the Bevo Francis-led Redmen to a 60-7 record from 1952-54, including a perfect 39-0 mark during the 1952-53 campaign.
“We want to honor some outstanding coaches and teams in our area but, moreso, it’s about promoting the game of basketball because that’s what Newt did,” said Rio Grande head coach Ken French.
“He was a master, one of the best in the history of college basketball, when it came to promoting the game. The Classic is a great way for us to promote the game and, at the same time, pay respect to coach Oliver and his legacy.”
Rio Grande will be looking to end a two-game losing slide when it hits the floor on Saturday.
The RedStorm (4-6) are coming off a 73-60 loss to River States Conference rival Ohio Christian University last Saturday.
Live video and play-by-play for all five games can be seen on a pay-per-view basis ($7.95 per game) at http://portal.stretchinternet.com/rio.