November 15, 2011
It hasn’t been a perfect season, but the Buckeye Valley Barons may have played as close to perfect as one could expect Thursday night.
Buckeye Valley scored often, played a claustrophobic defense and valued the basketball, all combining into an overwhelming 70-31 Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division victory over the Elgin Comets at Buckeye Valley High School.
One thing Buckeye Valley (12-6, 8-2 MOAC Red) did is get off to a quick start. The Barons scored the first nine points of the game, forcing an Elgin (8-10, 5-6) time out, and proceeded to take an 18-4 lead after one quarter.
“We were looking for a good start,” BV coach Donovon Barrett said. “We haven’t been consistent with our starts throughout the year. Tuesday (vs. Jonathan Alder) we played well defensively and our intensity and focus was good, but we weren’t consistent offensively. We wanted to be consistent with those things and tighten up the loose ends, and we did that. We put a lot of things together.”
The Barons also did two other things very well on Thursday — hold possession of the ball and stay out of foul trouble. Buckeye Valley committed just two turnovers in the entire game, one each in the first and third quarters, and had no turnovers on all but one of their 50 possessions on the night.
“We gave ourselves a lot of opportunities,” Barrett said. “The other night we didn’t turn the ball over a lot, either. I think what we did most tonight is we finished around the rim better than we have on a number of occasions. We stuck our feet on a lot of shots, we had good balance, and we finished.”
Buckeye Valley also had just five fouls called against them in the game, including just one in the first half, while keeping their aggressive defense from becoming over-aggressive. That defense also turned into transition offense, with Buckeye Valley collecting several fast-break opportunities.
“We did a good job of getting defensive positioning, and I was very happy with that,” Barrett said. “I thought we did a good job the other night, too, and were consistent with our effort on that end, which led to some transition buckets that we finished as well. That was something we struggled with early in the season, too, but we did well tonight.”
The Comets played a solid second quarter and stayed with the Barons, despite falling behind 32-16 at the half, but Buckeye Valley opened the third quarter the way they opened the game, scoring the first 14 points of the period and holding a 56-24 lead going to the fourth.
Every Baron on the roster saw action and all but one scored at least two points. Junior Zach Hassinger topped all scorers with 20 points on the night, including three three-pointers, while senior Chris Jackson added 17 points, hitting a game-high eight field goals.
Junior Jordan Tomlinson added 10 points for Buckeye Valley, with senior Matt Novak and junior Caleb Green chipping in five points each. Junior Jack Kelly and sophomore Brad Edmonds also had four points each, junior Brad Krueger added a three-pointer for three points, and junior Nic Clunk finished with two points.
“Our team energy was very good, and we kind of fed off each other,” Barrett said. “There wasn’t a whole lot we could point out that we needed to improve on. We did give up more offensive rebounds that we’d like. Elgin does a good job on the boards and we need to improve on that, but that’s nit-picking. It was a good team effort all-around.”
Layne McElroy led all Comet scorers with 12 points off the bench. Felix Elswick also had nine for the Comets while Jacob Roszman finished with five.