MINFORD — On Friday night in Minford, Falcons sophomore Bennett Kayser put on a show.
With the help of his teammates and a runaway lead, the six-foot, five-inch forward scored a career-high 43 points during Minford’s 82-46 win over Eastern in Southern Ohio Conference Division II play.
The Falcons could do no wrong in their 19th consecutive SOC II regular-season win dating back to last season — one that clinched at least a share of the SOC II title — and neither could Kayser.
His 43 points came on 17 field goals — 15 two-pointers, two three-pointers, and a seven-of-nine foul shooting mark.
“Myles (Montgomery) was feeling it that first half, guys did a good job of finding him the ball. Second half, Bennett Kayser had a career night,” Minford coach Josh Shoemaker said, after the game. “Credit to him for getting to the spot. We put him inside a little bit more tonight and he really embellished that role. Super unselfish teammates finding him the ball at the end, guys knew he was on.”
“We were all moving the ball really well tonight. We have a full team that can score the ball at any time, we just have to keep up our team chemistry, move the ball, make the extra passes when we needed to,” Kayser said, following his 43-point outing. “The entire team had a great game, great win against a good Eastern team.”
The Falcons got out to a fast start and didn’t slow down a bit over the course of the game.
At the end of the first quarter, Minford led 22-8 with sophomore Myles Montgomery and Kayser scoring all 22 of their team’s points.
Montgomery started the game four-of-five from beyond the arc, adding 27 points to his team’s total.
Going into halftime, the Falcons had built their lead to 47-19.
An and-one conversion by Kayser as time was nearly expired in the third period gave Minford a 71-35 edge, and started a running clock which continued for the entirety of the fourth.
“Pressure defense. We forced them into a lot of traps and turnovers, gave us some chances in transition,” Shoemaker said. “Rebounding-wise we were able to push them on the glass which was huge.”
“We get out of the gate good, but we sometimes lean off the peddle. We’ve been trying to build our killer instinct for when we need it later in tournaments,” Kayser said. “We’ve been working to get up and down the court, getting better every day because we want so much more not only for our team, but for the community. It means so much that we get to come out and play in front of all these fans.”
Minford earned a 70-30 win at New Boston on Saturday, which increased its overall record to 17-1.
It has three games left versus SOC II opponents, including home games versus West and South Webster and a trip to Wheelersburg.
A win in any of those three would give the Falcons an outright conference championship.
This year’s SOC II title is the program’s 10th in history, and first since 2015.
When the Southeast District Athletic Board released the Division III boys basketball tournament brackets on Sunday, the Falcons were seeded as the No. 1 team in the district for the second year in a row.
Shoemaker stated that his team’s approach over the final games in the regular season and postseason is a simple one — staying focused.
“Continuing staying focused. Tonight we tried some new things offensively and it worked,” Shoemaker said. “The kids, just continue with the little things, staying healthy.”
Eastern 8 11 16 11 — 46
Minford 22 25 24 11 — 82
Eastern (10-10, 5-9 SOC II): Tucker Leist 1 0-0 3, Teagan Werner 0 0-0 0, TJ Richards 2 0-0 4, Jace White 4 4-8 12, Aiden Werner 0 0-0 0, Neil Leist 6 0-0 16, Sherman Salisbury 1 2-2 4, Dylan Morton 0 0-0 0, Brewer Tomlison 2 3-4 7, KJ Reinsmith 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 16 9-14 46; Three-point field goals: 5 (Neil Leist 4, Tucker Leist 1)
Minford (16-1, 13-0 SOC II): Bennett Kayser 17 7-9 43, Peyton Caudill 0 0-0 0, Kade Glockner 1 0-0 3, Adam Crank 1 0-0 3, Myles Montgomery 10 3-3 27, Jeffrey Pica 0 0-0 0, Ethan Cordle 0 0-0 0, Gilliland 0 0-0 0, Gavin Downey 0 0-0 0, Bailey White 0 0-0 0, Noah Martin 0 0-0 0, Jackson Shoemaker 0 0-0 0, Joe Hannah 3 0-0 6; TOTALS: 32 10-12 82; Three-point field goals: 8 (Myles Montgomery 4, Bennett Kayser 2, Kade Glockner and Adam Crank 1 apiece)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved