The long wait between the end and start of a new basketball season ended Friday night for the Glenwood Tigers as they were able to claim a season opening home victory over Northwest 81-39.
After graduating four starters from last year’s sectional championship team, there were questions as to how the Tigers would be able to replace some of their production from a season ago. Those questions were answered rather quickly as all five starters for the Tigers reached double figures, minus junior point guard Mal Potts who finished with 8 eights.
Grady Jackson finished with a team high 20 points, senior Tyler Caldwell finished with 19 points, 17 of which were in the first half, Kyle Sexton finished with 17 points, and Marcus Saunders finished with 14 points, 9 of which came off of three second half threes from the talented guard.
“We were in the double bonus, and we were trying to get Malachi to finish out in double figures, so we could have all five guys there,” said Glenwood head coach Adam Cox following his team’s win Friday night, “He passed up a couple of shots, but that’s just the kind of player he is. The balance is good, and we knew we were going to have that. We have to have that balance if we’re going to be good, to try and keep that load off of Tyler (Caldwell) and (Kyle) Sexton.”
The Tigers led after the first quarter over the Mohawks 20-7, and continued on their blistering pace to extend that to a 45-20 lead at the half, all while Saunders sat on the bench in foul trouble, allowing Jackson more freedom to score. As mentioned above, Caldwell had an incredible first half by scoring 17 points, nine of which came from behind the arc.
Glenwood kept up their offensive intensity through all four quarters, while also mixing things up on the defensive end to give Northwest different looks in hopes to complicate their offensive production, which worked to a tee. Cox believes that also for the Tigers to be successful, they have to try and guard teams in a number of different ways.
“Mixing it up is something we try and do consistently. You notice, as a coach, when we’re making runs on people and they call timeout, we’ll mix it up and give them a different look. Usually coaches are calling timeout to tell them what they need to do against what we were running earlier, and then the next time we come out we’re in something totally different… I like that style. Some coaches will try and say we run one thing and one thing only, but I like giving teams different looks.”
The Tigers intense and transitional defense worked to perfection as no Mohawk was able to get into double figures for the night. Junior Braden Borens had a team high seven points on the offensive end, while seniors Chase McClay and Jake Ellis each contributed five points apiece.
It’ll be a quick turnaround for the Tigers as they will have to travel to South Webster Saturday night in a rematch of their 2018 district semifinals contest. Cox, whose daughter attends South Webster High School and is himself a former middle school soccer coach in the Jeeps illustrious program, is all too familiar with the members of the Jeeps team that his Tigers team will have to face come Saturday night.
“It would be very difficult for me to coach against Kyle Sexton, and I feel the same way about Jacob Ruth. He was my best defender in soccer for years and I could tell Jacob (Ruth) anything. Now he’s on the other team, that makes it difficult for me. I want to cheer against Jacob, but I’m also very proud of the man he’s became as a senior. It’s an odd experience for me to coach against them, but I have the utmost respect for those kids and that program. It’s going to be a great game tomorrow night.”
As for the Northwest Mohawks, they will attempt to regroup in preparation for their game on Saturday as well where they will host another SOC I school, the Clay Panthers.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT