For the first six minutes of its Mid-State League Ohio Division tilt at Bexley on Wednesday, Jan. 29, the Madison-Plains boys basketball team was struggling to score points, but trailed just 8-6.
But that’s when things took a serious turn for the worse for the Golden Eagles as the host Lions went on a staggering 26-3 run that started late in the first quarter and continued right through to halftime, and ultimately led to a 65-37 Plains loss.
Madison-Plains High School coach Nathan Warner said his team let results at one end of the floor lead to bad things on the other end.
“Our offense seems to dictate our defense, which should never be the case if you want to be successful,” Warner said. “We’ve got to make sure moving forward that our defense dictates everything. There are going to be nights where you aren’t hitting or stretches where you’re not hitting, but you should never have a stretch where your defense doesn’t show up.”
The Lions connected on a three-point shot just prior to the end of the first quarter and opened the second with another long-range bomb. From there it was all Lions as they were able to force turnovers on one end that led directly to baskets on the other.
When Madison-Plains did get shots, nothing was falling. Even point-blank looks from deep inside the paint refused to go down and by the time the buzzer sounded at the end of the half, Bexley was comfortably ahead 34-9.
In addition to getting clean looks in transition, Bexley was able to control the offensive glass and routinely give its offense, two, three and sometimes four additional chances on the offensive end. The inability to secure defensive rebounds was another telling factor in the Eagles’ loss.
“If you look back there’s always a stretch where our defense falls asleep, when you struggle to score in general you can’t have that,” Warner said. “Not being able to grab defensive rebounds is killer. It’s something we try and pride ourselves on, we talk about it all the time about coming up with defensive rebounds and we struggled with it tonight.”
The Golden Eagles (2-10, 0-7) were led by junior guard Hunter Butin who finished with a team-high 13 points, Shane Folden added nine of his own.
Warner said he sees his team making progress, but also knows that the losses are piling up and the number of games on the schedule continue to shrink.
“Every game we can learn something, again we have good leadership on the team,” the coach said. “It’s been a rough year, off the court is one thing, but we’ve struggled. We haven’t had the type of success we wanted to have on the court. There’s things we can learn from every game. We made strides there late tonight, we’re getting better, we really are. I know it might be hard to see it but we’re getting better as a team.”
John Vallery finished with five points, Eli Williams added four, while Jake Vallery (three), Dylan Crace (two) and Dylan Voltz (one) also scored.
Bexley got a balanced scoring attack as seven players scored, led by Sam Nolan (21), Niejel Drewry (14) and Cole Heilman (13).
Plains will next be in action on Thursday, Jan. 30, when it travels to Whitehall. Tip off is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 18 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.