JACKSON – Minford started their sectional semifinal game vs. Ironton with the hopes of pulling off an upset an earning a bid in the sectional title game. An opportunity that would have meant the Falcons would have been vying for their first sectional title since 2016.
But, due to a rocky start which included nine first quarter turnovers and trailing by a 17-3 margin after the first eight minutes, Minford was never able to make up the deficit, ultimately falling to Ironton 77-55.
“Getting behind 17-3 absolutely deflated us, we were playing catchup from there” said Minford head coach Josh Shoemaker following the loss. “We cut it to nine at 26-17, but then they hit a bucket in our comeback. You can’t turn the ball over that many times and expect something to click and you’re right back into it. It was a hard fought game, but we certainly dug ourselves in a whole during that first quarter.”
For the rest of the game, Minford only turned the ball over six times, totaling 15 over the course of the game.
The Falcons were led by senior Darius Jordan who finished with a game high 25 points to go along with two assists. Jordan, who returned midway through the season after a torn ACL suffered prior to the season, was one of the main components of the Falcons offense after his return in early January.
“Darius, to come back from his ACL injury, the fact that he even played this year was amazing,” said Shoemaker. “The rehab he went through, to walk of the court in his final game with 25 shows his effort and grit that he has as a player, but then also succeeding when he came back. He really pushed us into becoming a more competitive team when he returned.”
Jordan is one of four seniors that Shoemaker will lose to graduation, the others being Cameron Dalton, Kelton Kelley, and Colin Coriell. It may have been a losing season for Minford (7-15, 6-8 SOC II), but it’s the character of his four seniors that Shoemaker will miss after they finished their final game Monday night.
“It was a rough year, but we talked in the locker room after about their character. How when sometimes things aren’t going easy, one thing you can do is quit on your team and your coaches, and none of them did that. They played hard, they listened, they were a pleasure to be around. Some character building so that when sometimes things aren’t going your way, quitting seems like the easiest thing, but none of them did that. They played hard, they played hard through the final minute of their final game.”
Minford will return a large portion of their roster for next year, minus the aforementioned four. The biggest thing Shoemaker needs to see from those remaining on his roster? The time and effort to get better and improve their games, because next season it will be them who takeover that role.
“We’ve got some kids coming back, and we talked about it in the locker room afterwards. You’ve got to put the time in if you’re not satisfied with losing in the sectionals, and I hope we have a better product on the court next year.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT