WEST PORTSMOUTH — — Rarely is the final result of a basketball game dictated by one scoring run.
However, in the case of the Minford Falcons’ 55-45 road win over West on Friday in Southern Ohio Conference Division II play, that exact scenario played out.
With West holding an 8-3 lead in the early stages of the first quarter, Minford used a 17-0 run which stretched over the latter part of the first and the beginning of the second to take a 20-8 lead over the host Senators.
From that point on, Minford (5-2, 3-2 SOC II) and West (3-3, 1-3 SOC II) played to a stalemate, thanks in large part to the Falcons’ ability to defend their opponent.
“We’re down 8-3, lost a couple of guys from our scouting report, coach Ben Richard did an awesome job on our scouting report,” Minford coach Josh Shoemaker said following the win. “(Nick) Davis is a tremendous player, we really focused on him with Nathan McCormick holding him to eight. Went on that 17-0 run, we woke up and started playing defensively. Holding assignments, rebounding the ball exceptionally well, and it really flowed through the rest of the game.”
“It (Minford’s run) ended up being the difference in the game, and that’s sort of what we were afraid of,” West coach Bill Hafer said after the loss. “They’re an excellent shooting team, they got out on that run and we were never able to battle back, it felt like we played even with them from then, but that first quarter run is what ended up getting us.”
The lowest the Senators would be able to cut into Minford’s lead was eight after senior Nick Davis went one-for-two at the free-throw line to start the second half, cutting the Falcons’ lead to 31-23.
The largest the Minford lead would grow was 14-points at three different stretches: once in the second quarter and twice in the third.
The catalyst in the Falcons’ run which propelled them to Friday’s road win was sophomore Trenton Zimmerman. In the first quarter, Zimmerman scored nine points off three-made threes before finishing with a season-high 18 points (four-made threes).
Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis preferred to score his 11 points for Minford over the course of Friday’s game with five points coming during the Falcons’ 18-8 first quarter advantage over West.
“Zim(merman) really got hot in that first quarter, our player’s did a good job of finding him, and Vogelsong’s points are spread throughout the game which is huge,” Shoemaker said. “We always say we want three or four in double-digits, add in (Skyler) Knore’s nine, he did a good job of attacking and hitting a big three in that fourth.”
In the second half, Minford outscored West 24-23 including holding the Senators to just eight points on two-made field goals in the third quarter.
“I think the biggest thing was we kept them in front of us,” Shoemaker said of the Falcons’ defense. “We didn’t give up easy scores, and each of our guys one-through-five brought a lot of energy. We stayed on the ground, we didn’t put them on the foul-line too much. Really did well on the glass which helped us get transition points.”
After Zimmerman, Vogelsong-Lewis, and Knore’s combined 38 points, Minford was led in scoring by Adam Crank’s six points, Nathan McCormick’s five, Hunter Davis’ four, and Matthew Risner’s two.
For West, Luke Howard scored a team-high 15 points, Nick Davis and Brennan Bauer each scored eight, Dillyn Coe scored seven, Noah Coleman scored five, and Luke Bradford scored two.
Minford will take a 10-day layoff from game action before their December 30th road trip north on SR 139 to face the Jackson Ironmen. Four days later, the Falcons hit the road again to take on Wheelersburg, the top team in SOC II as the conference race heats up to start the new year.
“We’re 5-2 heading into the break, a lot of teams use this time to keep getting better or they become complacent,” Shoemaker said. “We’ve got Jackson and ‘Burg the week after Christmas, so we’ve got to stay at a high-level in practice, stay conditioning while also spending time with our families, and we have to make sure our players get better over break.”
West, on the other hand, has a busy week ahead. The Senators will have to regroup quickly before travelling to face Portsmouth on Saturday in non-league play before next week’s Stultz Holiday Classic hosted by Greenup County (Ky.).
“We want to fight through those lulls when we aren’t scoring,” Hafer said. “Keep battling, not giving up. We’ve got to execute within ourselves offensively, there were times we got away from what we were trying to do. Overall, we’re not in a bad spot, just have to keep working and getting better.”
Minford 18 13 13 11 – 55
West 8 14 8 15 – 45
Minford 55 (5-2, 3-2 SOC II)
Hunter Davis 1 2-3 4, Trenton Zimmerman 6 2-2 18, Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis 5 0-0 11, Skyler Knore 4 0-0 9, Nathan McCormick 2 1-3 5, Matthew Risner 1 0-0 2, Adam Crank 3 0-0 6; TOTALS 22 5-8 55; Three-point field goals: 6 (Zimmerman 4, Vogelsong-Lewis and Knore 1 apiece)
West 45 (3-3, 1-3 SOC II)
Nick Davis 2 4-7 8, Luke Howard 5 3-4 15, Dillyn Coe 2 2-2 7, Brennan Bauer 3 1-2 8, Noah Coleman 2 0-0 5, Luke Bradford 1 0-0 2, Marion Phillips 0 0-0 0, ; TOTALS: 15 10-15 45; Three-point field goals: 5 (Howard 2, Coe, Bauer, Coleman 1 apiece)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved