It was the way a rivalry game is supposed to be played. Rough, tough and at times ugly.
But when push came to shove the London boys basketball team was just a little bit tougher than host Madison-Plains and walked away with a hard-fought 59-42 victory on Thursday, Jan. 9.
The Red Raiders (5-4, 2-3) opened the second half on a 10-0 run to break open a close game, scoring all of their points in the paint, in fact every point scored by London in the second half came from inside the paint or from the foul line.
“We’ve been doing a lot of that in practice working the ball inside,” Red Raiders coach Darren Long said. “We work a lot on shooting, but when we’re not hitting from outside we have to work on attacking inside because if we attack inside team’s are going to squeeze in and leave things open on the outside.”
Things may have been open on the outside in the second half, but London wouldn’t know because it rarely took a shot from outside of 10 feet after the break. The team dominated the paint and the offensive glass.
“Offensive rebounds was the thing,” Madison-Plains High School coach Nathan Warner said. “I bet you we gave up 20-25 offensive rebounds tonight. If they make half of them that’s 20 points and we lost by 18.
“London is a great team and I’m not taking anything away from them but it’s hard to win against anyone when you give up 20 offensive rebounds. You’re not going to win games giving up that many offensive rebounds.”
It wasn’t just any one player scoring and grabbing boards in the paint for the Red Raiders, there would routinely be times when all five of their players would be within 10-12 feet of the bucket.
The biggest of those bodies is big man Seth Roberts who scored eight points and helped set the tone on the interior.
“Seth Roberts did a great job he posted up he pinned his man, we’ve been expecting that the last couple years,” Roberts said. “We also had Zac Carey in there too. That was our intention — to get the ball inside more and get more shots in there.”
Carey led all scorers with 23 points. The senior attacked the basket off the dribble and crashed the boards, scoring on a number of put backs. Brok Bennett scored 14 for London, while Zach Anderson also scored in double figures with 10.
London went on a 10-0 run when the game was tied 12-12 in the second quarter, but Plains answered back with a late push just before the half to cut the deficit to 29-23. But the Golden Eagles wouldn’t score again until just 1:30 remained in the third quarter.
“Our guys really came through, they’ve got two really good guards and we did a good job containing them,” Long said.
“We were taking bad shots which also leads to great shots for them,” Warner said of the third quarter drought his team went through. “We’re still learning to run offense, we want to run when we can, but that’s hard to do when you’re getting the ball out of the hoop every time.
“We’re getting better. We’re taking steps, unfortunately tonight we took a couple steps backward.”
Hunter Butin led Plains (1-7, 0-4) with 15 points, fellow junior Eli Williams chipped in nine in the loss.
“In a game like this you throw out the records and teams just go at it,” Long said. “It’s a good win for our guys.”
Jonathan Alder 59,
The Pioneers (4-4) played perhaps their best game of the season Wednesday, Jan. 8, in posting an easy victory over the Trojans.
Alder jumped out to a 17-5 advantage after the first quarter and stretched the advantage to 31-8 at the halftime break. Dialed in defensively the Pioneers were also able to control the backboards and had a healthy 31-13 rebounding advantage.
Alder freshman Trey Pugh scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the win. Point guard Hayden Hess finished 15 points and six assists for the Pioneers. Tanner Killian and Andrew Koenig had six points apiece.
Jonathan Alder will return to action Friday, Jan. 10 with a game at Madison County foe West Jefferson, starting at 7:30 p.m.
West Jefferson 51,
The Lady Roughriders (7-3) stepped outside of league play and picked up a confidence-building victory over the Panthers of Fairbanks on Wednesday, Jan. 8.
Taylor Bowman (13) and Claire Sterling (10) both reached double figures, while Kennedy Campbell and Madison Gatley had eight apiece.
West Jefferson surrendered 22 points to Fairbanks’ Michaela Henderson, but didn’t allow another player to score more than six points.
Miami Trace 77,
The Golden Eagles hosted an old foe on Wednesday, Jan. 8, but the final result was far from pleasant.
Madison-Plains High School renewed acquaintances with former South Central Ohio League foe Miami Trace and may be thinking it’s a good thing they’ll only see them once this season as the Eagles fell hard 77-40.
Plains (4-6) was outscored 25-7 in the first quarter and 27-13 in the third quarter, for a grand total of 52-20 in those two stanzas. In the other two quarters Plains played the Panthers much tighter (25-20).
Macy McCollister led the Golden Eagles in scoring with 16 points, Macailyn Maciel added seven and Hailey Mayabb chipped in six.
Madison-Plains will be back in action on Friday, Jan. 10, when it hosts Columbus Academy in a contest that will start at 6 p.m.