Falcons blow past Pirates


WHEELERSBURG — The Minford Falcons felt right at home inside Pirate Country on Friday night.

From tip to final buzzer, Minford showcased why they’ve earned the Division III No. 1 seed in the Southeast District and won an outright SOC II championship — as the Falcons simply dismantled host Wheelersburg in a 64-28 road victory.

After leading at halftime with a 20-point lead (36-16), the Falcons outscored the Pirates 28-12 in the final 16 minutes.

In fact, the final six minutes were played with a running clock after Minford took a 60-24 lead with 6:16 left.

As a team, Minford shot 51.9-percent (27-of-52) from the floor, while the Pirates were held to just 29.3-percent shooting (12-of-41).

Minford outrebounded ‘Burg 30-17 and forced 18 Pirate turnovers while committing only 10.

“Credit to our kids, we had a gameplan and they executed better than I could have imagined,” Minford coach Josh Shoemaker said, of his team’s performance. “Their focus and intensity — every ball that went up we had guys going after it. Our guys took it to a new level tonight and it’s all credit to them.”

“After the close game last time at home, we knew we did a lot of things wrong. We had to come out and change a lot of stuff — hustle more, rebound better, and we did those things,” Minford sophomore Myles Montgomery said. “Everybody really played well and we got the job done.”

“We just brought the intensity tonight,” Minford sophomore Jackson Shoemaker said. “Played really hard and physical, went right at them.”

For the second straight Friday in a row, it was Minford sophomore Bennett Kayser who stole the show.

Kayser led all scorers in their win over the Pirates with a game-high 31 points on an extremely efficient 14-of-18 shooting.

Not only did he lead all scorers, he outscored the Pirates as a team.

“I’m finding gaps to get open, but it’s really my teammates hitting me with great passes,” Kayser said. “We have such an unselfish team, any of us could score 30. It’s just whose hot that night — could be Myles, Jack, Joe or Adam. We’re good about running plays to getting the hot hand open and the ball.”

“The time he’s put in and he’s making shots,” Shoemaker said, of Kayser. “He’s had shots all year, now he’s focused, has 20 games in as a sophomore and he’s finishing. Credit to our guys getting him the balls. We knew they were going to guard Myles pretty hard, Bennett has that mid-range jumper that a lot of kids don’t have. He has such a high release point; the guys kept finding him when he kept finding holes in the zone.”

Minford saw a pair of additional scorers reach double figures in Montgomery who scored 15 and Shoemaker who finished with 12.

The Falcons won their 21st consecutive SOC II regular-season game by defeating the Pirates on the road.

They hosted South Webster on Tuesday (Feb. 14) night for their Senior Night, and travel to Portsmouth on Friday (Feb. 17) night in their regular-season finale.

“Celebrate tonight and get ready for Webster on Tuesday — it’s the same strategy we’ve had all year,” Shoemaker said. “We can’t get too happy, have to stay focused because one bad night and you’re done.”



Minford 14 22 20 8 — 64

Wheelersburg 10 6 8 4 — 28

Minford (19-1, 15-0 SOC II): Bennett Kayser 14 2-2 31, Peyton Caudill 0 0-0 0, Adam Crank 0 0-0 0, Myles Montgomery 6 3-4 15, Jeffrey Pica 1 0-0 2, Ethan Cordle 0 0-0 0, Gilliland 0 0-0 0, Gavin Downey 0 0-0 0, Bailey White 0 0-1 0, Noah Martin 1 0-0 2, Jackson Shoemaker 5 2-4 12, Joe Hannah 0 2-2 2; TOTALS: 27 9-13 64; Three-point field goals: 1 (Bennett Kayser 1)

Wheelersburg (15-6, 11-4 SOC II): Braylon Rucker 1 0-0 2, Connor Estep 2 0-0 5, Xander Mowery 0 0-2 0, Nolan Wright 2 0-0 6, Jacob Shaw 0 0-0 0, Kenyon Evans 2 0-0 4, Jackson Schwamburger 2 0-0 4, Hunter Bivens 0 0-0 0, Landon McGraw 1 0-2 2, Caleb Arthur 1 1-2 3, Kaden Johnson 0 0-0 0, Zavier Stanley 1 0-0 2; TOTALS: 12 1-6 28; Three-point field goals: 3 (Nolan Wright 2, Connor Estep 1)

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

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