WAVERLY — The Minford Falcons played the early-bird role on Thursday, and —in fact — got their proverbial worm.
That’s because, with Minford playing Piketon in the opening game of the SOCS Wireless Classic inside Waverly’s historic and fantastic Downtown Arena, the Falcons simply soared past the Redstreaks —splashing nine three-point goals in the opening 18 minutes and 45 seconds, and capturing a 54-34 matinee non-league win.
That’s right, Minford made its presence felt right from the high noon tipoff —making two three-pointers in the first two minutes, and never looking back beyond that 6-0 lead.
But, it was more than just making trifectas for the Falcons —as freshman Myles Montgomery nailed four, Adam Crank a couple, and one apiece by Trenton Zimmerman, Joe Hannah and Devin Parker.
The Falcons forced 24 Piketon turnovers, 18 of which resulted in steals —and several of which were converted into transition layups or winged three-pointers on the other end.
The Falcons never trailed, as Piketon got no closer than 6-2 and 8-4 counts beyond the opening two minutes and 15 seconds —and eventually staked a pair of 23-point (52-29 and 54-31) leads in a low-scoring fourth quarter, which was played primary by both squads’ substitutes.
A Weston Bloss three-pointer for the Redstreaks, with a minute-and-a-half remaining, made it hold up for the 54-34 final.
With the win, the Falcons raised their record to 7-2 —and went a perfect 3-0 in all non-league games during their Christmas and New Year’s two-week break.
They torched the Portsmouth Trojans for 94 points in a home win, won at Division II Jackson 58-53, and now rolled past Piketon by 20 points on the neutral floor at Waverly.
“We’ve had a good break and I think we’re getting better,” said Minford coach Josh Shoemaker. “We’ve had some really good practices and we’ve got to keep building off this run of the last 10 days.”
The loss left the Redstreaks at 4-6, as Zimmerman made his three-pointer only a minute and 35 seconds in —followed by Montgomery 27 seconds later canning his first of four.
Speaking of the freshman sensation Montgomery, he poured in 20 points on four twos and four threes —18 of which were in the opening half.
His only second-half basket came on a third-quarter drive, but his first half was more than enough to warrant him as Minford’s Player of the Game — given to each participating team.
Montgomery shot 50-percent from the field, both overall (8-of-16) and from three-point (4-of-8) territory, as he and Hannah had four assists apiece —part of a team 16.
“Myles just brings a different energy to our ballclub. I thought he did a really good job of pushing the tempo and getting out and really attacking,” said Shoemaker. “A couple of those threes, credit to his teammates for throwing him the ball, but also Piketon knew where he was, so good job by Myles to get to open spaces and getting those shots off and hitting those shots in the first half.”
While the two teams tied 13-13 in the third frame, followed by the 11 combined fourth-period points, it was all Falcons for the first half.
They played at their pace, trapped the Redstreaks at midcourt, made both backcourt and frontcourt steals, the six-foot four-inch senior Zimmerman blocked three shots, and turned transition opportunities into precious points.
Minford shot 40-percent from inside the arc (21-of-52) and 39-percent (9-of-23) outside of it, while the Redstreaks made only four threes on 19 attempts (21-percent) —and only a dozen total shots out of 37 (32-percent).
But 24 turnovers turning into 18 Falcon steals told the game’s tale — as did nine triples.
With those numbers, no noontime tipoff lull impacted the Falcons.
In fact, it was 24-7 in their favor just nine minutes in —when Crank made his first three-pointer, and Piketon promptly used a full timeout.
“I thought we came out and played at a good pace, did a good job of defensive rebounding, guarded the interior and got out in transition. That opened it up and we hit some threes,” said Shoemaker. “That’s how we wanted to play today. We wanted to hold them to one shot, get the rebound, and really push the ball because we thought we had an advantage of getting out on the fast break.”
In addition to Montgomery’s 20, Zimmerman mustered 12 on five total field goals and a split of first-quarter foul shots which made it 9-4 —as the Redstreaks never were within five points for the game’s final 27 minutes and 26 seconds.
Hannah, with a team-high eight rebounds, had seven points including a third-quarter three-ball —as Crank connected for his two treys in the second stanza.
Bailey White with two third-quarter free throws followed by a fourth-quarter bucket, plus Parker’s three five minutes in and Bennett Kayser’s fourth-quarter two, rounded out the Falcons’ scoring.
Levi Gullion, Piketon’s Player of the Game and all-Ohio Division V football Offensive Co-Player of the Year, paced the Redstreaks with 15 points —on five total field goals and 4-of-5 free throws.
Minford returns home, and returns to Southern Ohio Conference Division II action, against Eastern on Tuesday night.
Of course, that’s early in the new year, as these early-bird Falcons found their proverbial worm early in the afternoon.
“To come in on a Thursday at noon and get a win away from home, we’ll take that,” said Shoemaker.
* * *
Minford 18 17 13 6 —54
Piketon 7 9 13 5 — 34
MINFORD 54 (7-2)
Jackson Shoemaker 0 0-0 0, Trenton Zimmerman 5 1-2 12, Joe Hannah 3 0-0 7, Adam Crank 2 0-0 6, Myles Montgomery 8 0-0 20, Bennett Kayser 1 0-0 2, Devin Parker 1 0-0 3, Bailey White 1 2-2 4, Jeffery Pica 0 0-0 0, Luke Oakes 0 0-0 0, Hunter Pendleton 0 0-0 0, Ethan Connally 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 21 3-4 54; Three-point field goals: 9 (Myles Montgomery 4, Adam Crank 2, Trenton Zimmerman, Joe Hannah and Devin Parker 1 apiece)
PIKETON 34 (4-6)
Weston Bloss 1 0-0 3, Levi Gullion 5 4-5 15, Owen Armstrong 0 0-0 0, Brent McGuire 2 1-2 5, Tra Swayne 2 0-0 5, Brady Coreno 1 1-2 4, Kydan Potts 0 0-0 0, Declan Davis 1 0-0 2, Jayden Thacker 0 0-0 0, Hunter McComas 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 12 6-9 34; Three-point field goals: 4 (Weston Bloss, Levi Gullion, Tra Swayne and Brady Coreno 1 apiece)
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved