The last weekend of the year also meant the last chance for competition for most of the teams in Madison County as most will now have a break before opening the 2014 portion of the schedule.
Many of the teams tested themselves at various holiday tournaments with mixed results.
A strong fourth quarter propelled the Red Raiders past the Indians 49-42 in a game played at Miami Trace on Saturday, Dec. 28, as part of the McDonald’s Holiday Classic.
London (4-4) isn’t the most physically imposing squad around, but a strong presence on defense and an improved effort on the glass proved to be the difference as the team found a way to get things done. London out-rebounded the Indians 39-25, recorded nine steals and registered four blocks in the win.
“We didn’t play very well for three quarters,” Red Raiders coach Darren Long said. “We played well in the fourth quarter and that was enough to get a win. I’ve said it before, but I’d much rather win ugly than lose ugly.”
Senior Brok Bennett led the way with an 18-point effort, he also added five rebounds, five steals and two assists. Fellow senior Zac Carey finished the game with 13 points and seven rebounds.
But it was the play of guys like Justin Long who scored four points to go along with a team-high eight rebounds and Seth Roberts hauled in six rebounds, while scoring six points that helped the team stay close when shots weren’t falling.
“We just weren’t playing smart basketball,” the coach said. “The effort was there but we were missing easy shots and not getting it done. We started to put everything together there in the fourth quarter.
“Justin Long really shut their post player down and he’s not a post and Seth Roberts and Cameron Clark combined to do a good job defensively. This was a team win for us. It wasn’t pretty but it was a game where our guys kept on fighting and we found a way to win.”
The Red Raiders trailed 26-21 at the half but outscored the opposition 28-16 after the break.
London trailed well into the fourth quarter until Bennett knocked down a three-point basket to make it 39-38 Raiders. A basket each from Roberts and Long along with a pair of free throws helped London open up its lead in the closing minutes. The squad then made its free throws to close out the victory.
The Red Raiders will continue to play non-league games as they will travel to Jonathan Alder on Thursday, Jan. 2 to face the Pioneers. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Catholic Central 64,
Madison-Plains 61 OT
The Golden Eagles came out on the short end of a tough non-league game played on Saturday, Dec. 28 at Miami Trace also as part of the McDonald’s Classic.
Madison-Plains High School (1-5) led by 12-points at the half 29-17, but the team couldn’t contain Irish standout Will Johnson, who scored a game-high 36 points.
Plains was outscored 18-12 in the fourth quarter and 8-5 in the overtime session.
The big night by Johnson off-set the big numbers posted by Hunter Butin (30 points) and Eli Williams (20), who totaled 50 of the team’s 61 total points.
West Jefferson 40
A road trip south to Chillicothe for the West Jefferson High School boys basketball team resulted in a pair of disappointing results.
In the opening round of the Chillicothe Holiday Classic on Friday, Dec. 27, the home team was able to control the game against the visiting Roughriders (0-5) who never really threatened the Cavaliers.
West Jefferson 41
The Roughriders battled hard in a battle of winless squads in the consolation game of the Chillicothe Holiday Classic on Saturday, Dec. 28 but ultimately came out on the losing end.
The team is struggling to score points at this point in the season. In the loss to the Golden Gales Nick Mendenhall scored 13 points, Matt Jones added 10 and Logan Stepp finished with nine.
River Valley 50,
Jonathan Alder 45
The Pioneers dropped another tough contest, this one coming on their home court against Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference foe River Valley on Saturday, Dec. 28.
Despite the losses piling up, there are bright spots for Alder, which include the continued strong play of freshman Trey Pugh. The youngster scored 15 points, snagged 10 rebounds and added a pair of blocks and a pair of assists in the loss.
Declan Thomas scored 13 points and had three steals, while Hayden Hess chipped in eight.
West Jefferson 45
The Roughriders (5-3) split a pair of games at the Fairfield Christian Academy Holiday Tournament over the weekend.
West Jefferson was toppled by Crooksville in the first game of the tournament on Friday, Dec. 27. The squad was done in by a six-point third quarter. In that stanza the team was outscored 13-6.
Josie Hume scored a season-high 18 points in the loss. Claire Sterling scored six points and Kelsey Kirkpatrick added five.
West Jefferson 44,
The Roughriders bounced back a night later to defeat Johnstown Northridge 44-32, in the consolation game of the FCA Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 28.
Katie Garen and Sterling scored 10-points apiece, while Hume had eight and Kirkpatrick and Madison Gatley both finished with six.
Buckeye Valley 60,
The London girls couldn’t carry over the momentum from their feel-good victory a day before over Cedarville and fell to the visiting Barons 60-40 on Saturday, Dec. 28.
The Red Raiders (2-7) got off to a sluggish start and couldn’t make up the difference. The team trailed 18-8 after the first quarter and was outscored 16-9 in the second, making it 34-17 at the half.
The backcourt combo of Korren Cunningham (11) and Mackenzie Minner (10) combined for 21 points in the loss. Lindsay Freet added seven and Megan Cox finished with five.
Springfield Catholic Central 30
The Golden Eagles (5-4) flexed some muscle in winning this non-league game on Friday, Dec. 27, at Greeneview High School as part of the McDonald’s Holiday Classic.