MINFORD — It was originally scheduled as a Friday night off of work for the Minford Falcons.
It turned into arguably their most productive worknight of the entire season.
That’s because the host Falcons fired away from three-point range early and often, and made exactly half of their 26 attempts, en route to lighting up the scoreboard and routing the Oak Hill Oaks 86-49 on Friday night in an impromptu Southern Ohio Conference Division II boys basketball bout inside the Falcons’ Nest.
As part of the 86-point blitzkrieg which included erupting for at least 19 points in the opening three quarters, including 29 in the second stanza and 24 in the third frame, the Falcons shot a fiery 53-percent (32-of-60) from the field — buoyed greatly by its hefty 13 three-point goals.
Throw in 9-of-13 free throws, and 21 assists, and Friday’s affair which came together in a matter of 28 hours was perhaps the Falcons’ finest performance —at least offensively.
Minford had posted 78 points in the second of its two tilts against Portsmouth West this season, in which the Falcons soared out to a 33-6 first-stop advantage.
With Friday’s win, which was Minford’s third consecutive, the Falcons raised their record to 6-3 —and 5-3 in the SOC II.
As Oak Hill hit for 28 first-half points, Minford amounted 29 points in the second quarter alone.
Not too shabby for a squad, which was originally scheduled to be idle on Friday following its 53-52 victory at Valley on Tuesday night — in which the Falcons fended off an Indians’ rally.
Speaking of Valley, the Oaks originally were scheduled to host the Indians on Friday night, but it was announced on Thursday that the Valley program was under a coronavirus quarantine.
The Falcons, with the nine-team SOC II, had the bye for Friday night in the conference’s double round robin-rotation — but the coaching staffs and athletic directors at Oak Hill and Minford agreed to play their second meeting and fill the gap.
Good move by Minford — which endured a preseason quarantine itself— in multiple ways.
“We were excited to play. We’re on track right now to get our games in, the kids want to play and you never know what tomorrow will bring. Kids want to play basketball,” said Minford coach Josh Shoemaker.
Minford won at Oak Hill 58-39 on Dec. 23 in the two teams’ initial matchup, but there was little the Oaks — coming off a quarantine themselves in which last Tuesday’s game at South Webster was postponed — could do to stop the on-fire Falcons.
Oak Hill played primarily zone defenses, but the Falcons found the range from long distance —from the corner pockets to the wings to the top of the key.
They never trailed, were tied just twice at 2-2 and 9-9, and eventually staked an 81-42 advantage for their largest with five minutes and five seconds remaining.
They splashed six first-half trifectas, five of which were in the second quarter, before swishing seven more in the second half —with four more in the third.
“Since the South Webster game when we didn’t shoot it well, we changed some things up offensively where we are now getting open looks off better passing. The ball movement was really good and we had a lot of assists tonight,” said Shoemaker. “We’re really moving the ball to the open shooter and we’re going inside-out. It’s not a stand-still shot anymore. We’re really trying to push (Trenton) Zimmerman to run and get some post touches. We’re taking better shots, making them and that’s why our shooting percentage is going up.”
Adam Crank connected for four three-balls for a dozen points, as Skyler Knore netted three towards 11 —and Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis and Nathaniel Knight nailed a pair apiece.
Trenton Zimmerman, who made his in the first quarter for a 7-2 lead followed by an old-fashioned three-point play which made it 15-9, joined Drew Skaggs as the other two Falcons with at least one triple.
The six-foot, four-inch versatile Zimmerman, who poured in a game-high 21 points including 17 in the opening half, scored 13 in the opening quarter —including in the paint when he had three deuces and 4-of-5 free throws.
Zimmerman’s first points were the first points of the game —on the opening possession of the tipoff and off an alley-oop from Crank.
Shoemaker described it as a tone-setter.
“The coaching staff put that in this week, and that was probably the only time it has worked since we ran it,” said the coach. “But it was a great way to start the game for Zimmerman. We like to go inside early and the kids executed it. Great play.”
Vogelsong-Lewis followed Zimmerman with 16 markers, including six in the first frame and eight in the second quarter —as he drained both of his treys in that period.
The Oaks hung tough and hit some shots of their own for the first 10 minutes, tying twice and remaining within seven until the six-minute mark of the second quarter.
But that’s when Crank and Knore knocked down back-to-back threes in a 30-second span, and over the next minute, Vogelsong-Lewis landed a three to counter one by Oak Hill’s Landon Hines.
That made it 32-19, as the Oaks got to within 34-24 and 36-26, but Minford outscored Oak Hill 12-2 over the final 2:12 of the first half.
“We knew what to expect. They are obviously very athletic and senior-dominated and they share the ball. They shoot a lot of threes, and you have to hope you do a good enough job defensively to keep them from making them. But they hit a bunch of them tonight,” said Oak Hill coach Heath McKinniss. “They shot it extremely well and they moved the ball well and played inside-out. When you play a team that shoots the ball as well as they did tonight, there’s not much you can do about it. We probably played our best game offensively, and we competed hard on the defensive end, but it just wasn’t good enough tonight.”
The Oaks fell to 1-6 with the loss, as only Minford and Wheelersburg have consisted of their four league games thus far.
Hines had 10 points on two deuces and two treys, and was the only Oak Hill player in double figures.
Four of the Oaks’ six threes occurred in the opening half, as Shoemaker stressed the Falcons’ defense from Friday night shouldn’t be overlooked either.
“I thought we absolutely got after it defensively, got hands in passing lanes. And our transition game, guys ran to the rim hard and moved the ball. It was one of those nights we were on fire,” he said.
And, it all happened on a night in which they were originally scheduled to be off.
Minford played at Waverly on Saturday night in an SOC II makeup matchup, and returns to the road and SOC II on Tuesday night with a regular contest at Northwest.
* * *
Oak Hill 13 15 11 10— 49
Minford 19 29 24 14 — 86
OAK HILL 49 (1-6, 0-4 SOC II)
Connor Clark 0 0-0 0, Brock Harden 0 0-0 0, Landon Hines 4 0-0 10, Nathan Hall 0 0-0 0, Aidan Hall 3 3-6 9, Gavin Howell 2 1-2 7, Kade Kinzel 2 2-2 7, Johnnie Mullett 0 1-2 1, Braylon Howell 3 2-2 9, Garred Stiltner 1 0-0 2, Evan Fisher 2 0-0 4; TOTALS 17 9-14 49; Three-point field goals: 6 (Landon Hines and Gavin Howell 2 apiece, Kade Kinzel and Braylon Howell 1 apiece)
MINFORD 86 (6-3, 5-3 SOC II)
Trenton Zimmerman 8 4-5 21, Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis 6 2-2 16, Skyler Knore 4 0-0 11, Matthew Risner 1 0-0 2, Drew Skaggs 3 1-1 8, Devan Parker 0 1-2 1, Levi Coriell 2 0-1 4, Jeffrey Pica 1 0-0 2, Adam Crank 4 0-0 12, Nathaniel Knight 2 0-0 6, Joe Hannah 1 1-2 3; TOTALS 32 9-13 86; Three-point field goals: 13 (Adam Crank 4, Skyler Knore 3, Nathaniel Knight and Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis 2 apiece, Trenton Zimmerman and Drew Skaggs 1 apiece)
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved