Minford (1-1) endured a tough contest in its home opener Saturday night but came away with the 51-45 victory over Green (0-2).
“It was a good, close game and the kids really executed at the end...,” Minford coach Josh Shoemaker said. “Our kids deserve the victory. They worked very hard tonight.”
Early on, the contest was a rather stationary tug-of-war with neither team gaining an upper hand. No team led by more than three points at any point until the Falcons went on a 13-3 run to open the third quarter.
Not to be put away easily, Green finished the quarter with a 9-3 run of its own. Three players scored during Green’s third quarter comeback attempt.
“We’ve been working on our passing, of course,” Green coach Bobby Blanton said. “Working the whole floor and getting everyone involved.”
Matt Ratcliff led the Bobcats in scoring with 15 points and nine rebounds while Nate Pinkerton scored 11.
Ratcliff hit a buzzer-beater to end the third quarter to bring the Bobcats to within four at 41-37 but it was the last field goal Green would make.
Minford’s Caleb Cowgill led all scorers, making eight field goals for a total of 19 points in the win.
“I was very happy with my performance,” Cowgill said. “I missed my last four free throws but you’ll have that. My teammates really stepped it up in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter.”
The Falcons were at a disadvantage height-wise in the post but Aaron Oesch, Corey McKnight and other Minford post players managed to slow Green’s attack in the second half while scoring themselves.
“It was close there at first but we made some adjustments at halftime and we really started buckling down and getting it into the post a little bit more,” Oesch said. “Our post play was really good the second half but it’s all credited to the guards. If the guards didn’t have the pressure the post couldn’t get anything done.”
McKnight made several key plays on the offensive glass in the fourth quarter including a put-back with 4:26 to play that increased Minford’s lead to 47-42. McKnight scored six points with 11 rebounds.
“He did a tremendous job, he’s very active on the boards,” Shoemaker said. “He completely changes the way we play when he’s out on the floor.”
In the first half Green was able to keep the game close on the strength of its defensive rebounding, led by Ratcliff and Trenton Otworth, who pulled down six rebounds while scoring seven points.
“Defensive rebounding is something that we’ve been talking about the last few weeks and we know that we’ve got to improve on it,” Blanton said. “We told them it was going to be a major factor tonight... We keep preaching that we can’t be satisfied and we got to be hungry to win. We just have to keep bringing the effort and intensity.”
Green opens SOC I play Friday at East while Minford takes on its second-straight foe from the SOC I as Clay comes to Minford Tuesday.
Jackson 55, Minford 45
Dylan Newsome scored 22 points and the Jackson Ironmen handed Minford a 10-point loss in both teams’ season openers on Friday.
Brock Partlow led Minford with 11 points. Oesch scored nine and Mark Slone added eight points.
JOHN STEGEMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Green 12 13 12 8 — 45
Minford 11 14 16 10 — 51
Green — Otworth 1 5 7, Pierce 2 0 5, Ratcliff 5 5 15, Pinkerton 3 5 11, Lewis 0 1 1, Stapleton 1 1 3, Poe 1 0 2. Totals 13 17 45.
Minford — Taylor 2 2 7, McKnight 3 0 6, Butcher 1 0 2, Oesch 2 3 7, Partlow 1 1 3, Slone 1 1 4, Cowgill 8 2 19, Miller 1 1 3. Totals 19 10 51.
3-pointers — Green 1 (Pierce); Minford 3 (Taylor, Slone, Cowgill)
Records — Green 0-2; Minford 1-1