JA boys beat Division I Darby
By Nicole Homsher
For The Madison Press
HILLIARD — The Jonathan Alder boys basketball team traveled down the road on Saturday and knocked off host and Division I opponent Hilliard Darby, 61-51.
Pioneer senior Alex Randall had a team-high 18 points with 12 of those coming from the free-throw line. Randall was followed by senior Nick Squires, who had 15, including four 3-pointers, and senior Eric Roby, who netted 14 on the night.
The game started off on a defensive note with both teams holding the other from an offensive game plan. It was tied at 11 after the first quarter, when Pioneer coach Brent Cahill told his players to pick up the intensity on offense and keep being aggressive on the defensive side.
“The boys played a really good game defensively and had a lot of intensity,” Cahill said. “They did a good job getting to the rim after the first quarter and started executing our game plan on both sides of the floor.”
The second quarter was much like the first, with both teams having chances to take the lead. When the halftime whistle blew, Alder was leading by one, 24-23.
Randall talked about what they needed to do at the half to take more control of the game.
“We knew we had to start playing the way we play basketball and just keep up the intensity and stick to our plan,” Randall said. “We just knew if we could do that then we could have a chance of taking down a Division I (Ohio Capital Conference) team.”
After halftime, the Pioneers really started attacking the rim and seemed like every call was going their way and their baskets were falling, while their defense kept Darby at a safe distance. Going into the final quarter, Alder was leading 40-30.
The fourth quarter was played quickly with a lot of offense. Alder scored 21 points in the final quarter, mostly from Randall at the line.
And in the end, it was the Pioneers celebrating a big win and staking claim to one of the best teams in the state of Ohio.
“Beating a team like Darby is a good thing for us,” Cahill said. “It is a pride thing knowing that we can beat a school that is double us in size and that we can contend at any level. We kept to our goal of trying to get better every day up until tournament time.”
Randall agreed with his coach and knows that the season is just now beginning. The Pioneers know they need to continue to stick the plan and keep working on improving.
“They are a Division I program and and OCC school. That game was a big win for us,” Randall said. “We know can just keep going day by day to continue to improve, and when the time comes we will be prepared for what is ahead of us.”
Cahill praised Randall’s efforts in Satrurday’s win knowing that Randall is a key part of his game plan and has a lot of pressure on him in most games.
“Alex is a steady player and we put a lot of pressure on him to run the point and make a lot of calls for us,” Cahill said.
“He controls the tempo of the game and almost everything we do on the floor. Plus he plays about 32 minutes a game, so it is important for him to be consistent and he is that player for us.”
Going into Saturday night’s game, Alder was ranked second in the state among Division II teams.