MINFORD — Brayden Bockway is your textbook definition ‘heat-check guy’.
You know, the player who every shot he takes, everyone in the crowd knows it has a chance of going in — no matter where he shoots it from.
In the Jeeps’ 46-43 road win over Minford on Friday night, the South Webster senior forward showcased his long-range shooting to a tee, while his Jeeps (5-11, 3-8 SOC II) limited the host Falcons (9-6, 6-5 SOC II) to 1-for-22 shooting from behind-the-arc.
“The basket was really looking big for me tonight,” Bockway said, following his season-high 27-point outing. “We knew coming into this game, we really had to play tough defense especially without having Trae (Zimmerman), one of our best on-ball defenders. We knew that if we did that we’d get nice open looks, and that’s what happened.”
“Some of the shots he’s (Bockway) taking to start the game are six-foot behind the line, it’s me as a coach going, ‘Noooo’, and then it goes in,” South Webster coach Brenton Cole said of his senior’s night. “We get into the huddle to try and get a better look at the end of the game, and there he goes again to make the last shot. If he gets inside and he elevates, it’s tough for anyone to block that shot. Once we get both aspects going, it’ll be an even more complete game for him. Even got some big rebounds towards the end of the game; it was a big night for him.”
While Minford will kick itself for letting Bockway get open for the go-ahead one-legged three he hit with seven seconds left in regulation, it was its three-point shooting and the Jeeps’ accompanying defense which put the Falcons at an early disadvantage.
After one quarter, South Webster led its host 17-6 — as Bockway led all scorers with seven while fellow senior Andrew Smith scored six off two-made threes.
Minford decidedly won the second by an 11-3 margin as Falcon senior Hunter Davis scored seven of his team-high 13 points in the frame to help cut its deficit to three by halftime.
“I liked our energy to start the game on the defensive end,” said Cole. “We bought into it again like last Friday night. In the fourth, we did a lot better on their matchup zone: got the ball moving, found the spots in the zone and let the ball do the work for us.”
After halftime, Minford took its first lead after two Trenton Zimmerman free throws put the Falcons ahead 23-22 with 5:12 left in the third. A quick 7-0 Jeeps run minutes later off makes from Bockwway, an Aidan Andrews’ made-three, and a Cameron Carpenter bucket had South Webster back in front 34-27.
Bockway’s 23rd and 24th points of the game gave South Webster a 43-42 lead with less than a minute to play.
Zimmerman — whose two free throws in the third gave Minford its first lead of the night — connected on one-of-two attempts at the line to tie things at 43-all, Jeeps ball with a chance to win.
Cue Bockway’s go-ahead shot to go-along with a season-high in points for the South Webster senior and you have a stunning Jeeps’ win.
Stunning in the fashion rather than the substance, however.
Before its 62-47 win over Valley in Lucasville a week ago Friday, South Webster was 3-10 and were on the wrong side of the scoreboard in their last three games. A week later and Cole’s group is 2-1 in their last three, all of which were in SOC II play against quality competition.
“I’m the coach that goes in every game thinking we have a chance to win,” Cole said. “Those are three really tough teams we’ve faced. Waverly took it to us on our home court, but we’ve gotten after it on the defensive end the last two Fridays. That’s something we needed these boys to see and feed into. If we can continue like that, we can finish the year on a good note.”
While without sophomore Trae Zimmerman — South Webster’s second-leading scorer at 11.3 points per game — who was sidelined for Friday’s game after having nasal surgery early that morning, the Jeeps didn’t miss a beat with junior Aidan Andrews cracking the starting lineup and sophomores Brady Blizzard and Cam Carpenter seeing an up-tick in minutes.
“Brady Blizzard gave us great minutes, Cam Carpenter looked really comfortable against that zone. He’s a good defender, good on the boards with his length, so I was happy to see him in the game and do good things,” Cole said. “Trae’s our motor. We talked before the game that we didn’t need one guy to step up and fill that void, we wanted it to be by committee. Good to see some of my young guys get out there in a pressure situation and really respond.”
South Webster will travel to Eastern on Tuesday in hopes of getting its third win out of four games in SOC II play, while Minford travels to Waverly in search of their 10th win this the season.
“Keep working and improving on when someone throws a zone at us,” Cole said. “We went against a matchup zone the last two days in practice, doing that really helped pay off in the second half. First half we were just frustrated. We need to learn that we can possess the ball when we’re up, get a very good shot when we’re up. Those are things we can hopefully learn from after two wins against really good teams, by playing defense.”
“We know Minford’s a great team, probably one of the best teams in the SOC II,” Bockway said. “To come in and get a win, especially without Trae, was huge for us. Hopefully, it’s a win that gives us a lot confidence moving forward.”
South Webster 17 3 15 11 — 46
Minford 6 11 14 12 — 43
South Webster 46 (5-11, 3-8 SOC II)
Brayden Bockway 9 4-4 27, Gabe Ruth 3 1-2 7, Andrew Smith 2 1-2 7, Aidan Andrews 1 0-0 3, Cam Carpenter 1 0-1 2, Devyn Coriell 0 0-0 0, Brady Blizzard 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 16 6-9 46; Three-point field goals: 8 (Bockway 5, Smith 2, Andrews 1 apiece)
Minford 43 (9-6, 6-5 SOC II)
Hunter Davis 5 3-3 13, Nathan McCormick 5 0-0 10, Trenton Zimmerman 2 3-4 7, Skyler Knore 2 0-0 5, Matthew Risner 2 0-0 4, Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis 1 2-2 4; TOTALS: 17 8-9 43; Three-point field goals: 1 (Knore 1)
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