NEW BOSTON — Judy Garland’s famous “There’s no place like home” quote as Dorothy in the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz wasn’t intended for the New Boston Tigers, but it certainly applied in the Tigers’ return to their home court for the first time this season.
With a schedule where they began the season playing their first three games and five of their first six on the road, it’s fair to say that the Tigers were amped to play for the first time on their home court since their regional final berth and the program’s first district championship since 1960.
On Homecoming night and in their home opener and in Southern Ohio Conference Division I play, the New Boston Tigers had little trouble with rival East in their 81-28 win over the Tartans on Friday inside Homer Pelligrinon Gymnasium.
The win improves New Boston to 4-0 (2-0 SOC I) and drops the Tartans to 0-5 (0-2 SOC I).
“It was good to have a packed crowd here on Homecoming and be able to have the crowd behind us,” New Boston coach Adam Cox said following the win. “We played a bunch of kids tonight, were able to get 10 different kids in the scoring column.”
To start the Tigers’ campaign, it’s been junior Tanner Voiers who has consistently led the charge in the scoring category by being the lone Tiger to reach double figures in each of their four games this season for a 19.0 points per game (ppg) average.
First team all-Southeast District junior forward Kyle Sexton has more than been himself to start the season. In the Tigers’ win over Southeastern, Sexton scored a season-high 27 points while in Tuesday’s win over West Union, the junior all-Ohioan finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds, and 14 assists — his first such absurd stat line of the season.
Sexton also led all scorers with a game-high 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 steals in Friday’s win over East.
“We’ve been lucky to have leaders like Tanner (Voiers) and Kyle (Sexton) in scoring, but more importantly on the court leadership from Malachi (Potts),” Cox said. “He’s been really focused on keeping everyone keyed on the game plan and taking this one game at a time. It’s been fun to get some different looks and be able to get different lineups and kids in there.”
Tuesday and Friday’s wins also marked the return of sophomore guard Grady Jackson, who had been sidelined since early soccer season with a knee injury.
Addition by addition with Jackson’s return makes the threat the Tigers pose that much fiercer.
Voiers finished with 12 points and six assists after Sexton’s game-high 21, Marcus Saunders finished with 11, Jerome McKinley finished with eight and nine rebounds, De’von Jones finished with seven, Jackson finished with six, Malachi Potts finished with nine assists while he and Chase Clark each finished with five, and Devin McLaurin and Blake Grant each finished with three.
For East, freshman Landehn Pernell finished with eight points, Hagen Metzler and Andrew Pyles each finished with five, Kyle Winston scored four, Austin Smith scored three, Chase Coyle scored two, and Troy Comer scored one.
Before the end of 2019 calendar year, New Boston will hit the road two more times — Tuesday versus SOC I rival Clay and Friday, Dec. 27 against Southern.
Next Friday’s SOC I measuring-stick game versus Green inside Homer Pelligrinon Gymnasium is the only other time the Tigers will return to their home court for game action before the start of 2020.
For New Boston now though, with a full season in the front-view, it’s about getting healthy and continuing to fine tune in their pursuit of an SOC I championship in addition to their goals for this coming postseason.
“We’re happy to have everyone getting healthy at this point, trying to take it one game at a time,” Cox said. “Hopefully be able put our focus toward winning this league, trying to win our first conference title since ‘97.”
East will host Green on Tuesday in SOC I play.
East 4 7 10 7 — 28
New Boston 28 2o 24 9 — 81
EAST 28 (0-5, 0-2 SOC I)
Hagen Metzler 2 0-4 5, Troy Comer 0 1-2 1, Chase Coyle 1 0-0 2, Kyle Winston 2 0-0 4, Andrew Pyles 2 0-0 5, Landehn Pernell 4 0-0 8, Austin Smith 1 1-2 3, Austin Baughman 0 0-0 0, Levi Justice 0 0-0 0, Bryson Ramirez 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 12 2-8 28; Three-point field goals: 2 (Metzler and Pyles 1)
NEW BOSTON 81 (4-0, 2-0 SOC I)
Malachi Potts 2 0-0 5, Grady Jackson 3 0-1 6, Tanner Voiers 5 0-1 12, Kyle Sexton 7 4-4 21, De’von Jones 3 0-0 7, Devin McLaurin 1 0-0 3, Blake Grant 1 0-0 3, Marcus Saunders 4 2-2 11, Jerome McKinley 3 1-2 8, Chase Clark 2 0-0 5; TOTALS: 31 7-10 81; Three-point field goals: 12 (Sexton 3, Voiers 2, Potts, Saunders, McKinley, Jones, McLaurin, Grant, Clark 1 each)