PORTSMOUTH — Put simply, Saturday just wasn’t Minford’s day to win a ballgame.
After a season-opening loss to North Adams last Friday, the Falcons were pitted against Coal Grove in the Buckeye Elite National Showcase at Portsmouth High School and fell by a 61-43 final.
Minford (0-2) battled throughout the first quarter and entered the second trailing 20-18 after shooting 7-for-10 from the floor in the opening eight-minute period.
But in the second, the offense went ice cold as the Falcons failed to score. Meanwhile, the Hornets opened up a 29-18 lead heading to halftime.
“[Coal Grove] pressed early on and we did a god job of breaking the press and hitting the open man,” Minford coach Josh Shoemaker said. “Then they dropped back and really pressured our wings. We just didn’t make good decisions and didn’t move to get open. They were the aggressor and we just took it.”
The 11-point deficit quickly transformed into a 26-point hole after three at 51-25. How’d it happen? According to Shoemaker, the same mistakes continued to not get fixed.
“We can’t go 18 points in the first quarter and then score zero in the second,” Shoemaker said. “We need to take care of the basketball. It’s the same mistakes, over and over, from upperclassmen. We have to take some ownership or you get your butt kicked. That’s what happened.”
For what it’s worth, Coal Grove certainly provided a matchup problem as guards Evan Gannon, Cory Borders and Aaron Music combined to score 38 points. In the first quarter alone, Gannon and Borders torched Minford’s defense to the tune of six 3-point field goals.
“Their guard play, they’re quick and they’re slashers. They handled the ball well and we didn’t do a good job of, again, taking care of the basketball. If we turned it over, it’s an automatic two points,” Shoemaker explained. “We don’t guard well in transition right now and we don’t create enough turnovers. So right now, we almost have to play perfect basketball. We’ve got to get better at a lot of things if we want to compete this year.”
The Falcons were led by Collin Coriell with 10 points while Cameron Dalton finished the day with eight points and seven rebounds.
For Coal Grove, Gannon finished with 16 points while Borders added 14. Music ended with eight points alongside five rebounds and three assists.
What’s on tap
Minford gets back to action, still looking for its first win, on Tuesday hosting Portsmouth West.
“We were able to watch West this weekend and it was a low-scoring game,” Shoemaker said. “We’ve been low-scoring this year as well. So it might be first to 40 points wins the game. That even makes it more important when you don’t get easy buckets. We have to take care of the basketball, we have to rebound and then we can compete.”
Coal Grove: 20-9-22-10 — 61
Minford: 18-0-7-18 — 43
Coal Grove: 23-51 FG, 8-17 3pt. (Gannon 4, Borders 4), 7-18 FT. Scoring: Gannon 16, Borders 14, McKenzie 8, Music 8, Smith 6, Short 4, Harmon 3, Holmes 2.
Minford: 17-49 FG, 8-21 3pt. (Coriell 2), 1-5 FT. Scoring: Coriell 10, Dalton 8, Kelley 5, Ashley 5, Vogelsong-Lewis 3, Crank 3, Zimmerman 3, Connally 2, Skaggs 2, Strickland 2.