LUCASVILLE – South Webster coach Brenton Cole told the Daily Times on December 17th, “We’ve got to hold teams under 50 if we plan on winning.”
That statement was one of several following the Jeeps sixth-straight loss at the time, a 58-50 home defeat at the hands of the Eastern Eagles.
Fast-forward exactly one month later and Cole’s emphasis on defensive execution paid off in a big way.
Holding the host Valley Indians to just 20 second half points, Cole’s Jeeps squad built their lead up to as many as 16 points in their 62-47 road win in Southern Ohio Conference Division II play.
For perspective, Friday’s win is just the third game the Jeeps have held their opponent to under 50 points with the other two instances being wins in their favor.
In games when they’re unable to hold their opponent below the 50-point mark, the Jeeps are just 1-10 this year.
Defense wins championships, but for Cole, it’s also the key to winning games.
“My guys got after it on the defensive end,” Cole said following their 15-point win. “That’s what we’ve been preaching all year: get down, take away the middle, box out, rebound, and limit their shots. In the first half especially we did a great job of that, limiting their possessions and really capitalizing on ours.”
Friday’s 15-point margin of victory is a 29-point turnaround from the 56-42 home loss the Jeeps suffered to Valley way back on December 6th.
“We’ve been needing this for awhile,” Cole said. “Take nothing away from Valley, they’re a great team. We were expecting a win, but weren’t necessarily expecting this kind of outcome.”
The Jeeps were led in Friday’s win by seniors Gabe Ruth and Brayden Bockway, with Andrew Smith helping in the scoring column with two huge third quarter threes.
Ruth finished with a season-high 24 points on eight-made field goals while Bockway finished with 19 on seven-makes. The pair combined to score 31 of the Jeeps 36 first half points as South Webster held onto a 36-27 lead at the break.
“It was unbelievable some of the shots Brayden would hit,” Cole said. “He takes shots, he makes shots, sometimes he misses them. It’s good when they’re going in and they really were tonight. Gabe (Ruth) plays with so much heart, it’s great to see a kid like him have a game like this. He’s more than capable of doing it, really quick on his feet being an all-state soccer player. Tickled to death with the outcome for him.”
Friday’s win was just the third time this season Ruth scored in double figures with 16 points coming in the first half when South Webster would establish their lead.
After Valley took a 7-4 lead off a Mason Zaler bucket, the Jeeps would go on a 13-0 scoring run capped by Bockway’s three which gave his team a 17-7 lead with 1:34 left in the first quarter.
Zaler would score the Indians final five points to cut their deficit to five by the quarters end. The senior big man scored 12 points for the game with nine coming in the first quarter.
Valley senior Kayden Mollette scored 13 of his team-high 18 points in the first half, but his team still trailed by nine with 16 minutes to play.
Holding onto a nine-point lead coming out of halftime, South Webster connected on back-to-back threes off the hands of sophomore Trae Zimmerman and Smith to help push the Jeeps’ lead to 15.
The closest Valley would cut into South Webster’s lead would be at 52-44 with 5:18 to play when Jared Gahm’s jumper made it an eight-point game. From there, Cole’s bunch closed the game on a 10-3 scoring run to earn a 15-point road win and improve to 2-7 in SOC II play.
“Now we can build and say that the stuff we’re doing in practice and in the games is working,” Cole said. “This is what works, this is how we have to keep building for when the tournaments come around.”
South Webster will host Waverly on Tuesday in hopes of handing the Tigers their second conference loss while Valley travels to Wheelersburg in SOC II play.
South Webster 17 19 15 11 – 62
Valley 12 15 10 10 – 47
South Webster 62 (4-10, 2-7 SOC II)
Trae Zimmerman 1 0-0 2, Gabe Ruth 8 5-9 24, Andrew Smith 2 3-4 9, Devyn Coriell 1 2-2 5, Brayden Bockway 7 2-2 19, Brady Blizzard 1 0-0 3, Aidan Andrews 0 0-0 0, Will Collins 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 21 12-17 62; Three-point field goals: 8 (Bockway 3, Smith 2, Ruth, Coriell, Blizzard 1 apiece)
Valley 47 (6-8, 4-5 SOC II)
George Arnett 5 0-0 10, Ty Perkins 0 0-0 0, Carter Nickel 0 0-0 0, Kayden Mollette 6 2-4 18, Jared Gahm 2 0-0 4, Jacob Greathouse 0 0-1 0, Bryce Stuart 1 0-0 3, Mason Zaler 4 4-5 12; TOTALS: 18 6-10 47; Three-point field goals: 5 (Mollette 4, Stuart 1 apiece)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved