VINCENT - Opponents beware! The Warren Warriors are finding their groove.
Warren shot an even 50 percent from the field while limiting a talented Chesapeake team to a meager 16-of-53 shooting as the Warriors claimed a 62-40 win in Vincent Saturday evening.
"We've been in a shooting slump and it was nice to come out and have a solid 32 minutes of basketball," said Warren boys' basketball coach Blane Maddox.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Pierson
Warren's Danny Pannell (22) and Dylan Leffingwell (00) hit the court for a loose ball after Chesapeake's Caleb Lindsey (left) lost control during the third quarter of a basketball game in Vincent Saturday evening. Warren won 64-40.
Warren’s Michael Hall (23) goes in for a layup as a Chesapeake player tries to defend during prep boys’ basketball action in Vincent Saturday night.
The Warriors' solid play really kicked in during the second half, as Warren turned what had been a defensive ball game into an offensive showcase.
Behind the strength of Warren junior Evan French's 23 points to go with 11 each from Michael Hall and Reece Patton, the Warriors blew the game open in the third quarter by scoring 13 of the first 17 points.
"We were getting more open looks. We were working the ball a lot more," French said.
Warren 64, Chesapeake 40
Chesapeake 9 9 10 12 - 40
Warren 11 15 19 19 - 64
Shane Stevens 3 pts; Caleb Lindsey 5 pts; Caleb Heffner 10 pts; Javon Thompson 16 pts; Nick Duffield 7 pts; Aaron Thompson 1 pt
Evan French 23 pts; Michael Hall 11 pts; Reece Patton 11 pts; Adam Lang 7 pts; Dylan Leffingwell 4 pts; Danny Pannell 4 pts; Aaron Mazurkiewicz 2 pts; Matt Drayer 2 pts
Chesapeake: Shooting 16-53 (30 percent); 3pt shooting 3-18 (17 percent); Rebounds 22; Turnovers 14
Warren: Shooting 27-54 (50 percent); 3pt shooting 4-9 (44 percent); Rebounds 30 (Hall 6, Patton 6, Leffingwell 5); Assists 14 (Patton 6); Steals 9 (French 4, M. Drayer 3); Blocks 6; Turnovers 10
Moving the basketball helped the Warriors generate a lot of open looks, particularly in the paint, where Warren tallied 34 points.
"We put a few plays in this week to get more looks in the paint," French explained, crediting the work of bigs like Dylan Leffingwell, Hall and Patton. All those easy buckets turned what was a two-point lead after the first quarter of play and just an eight point advantage at halftime into a comfortable 17 by the end of three.
"Every quarter we play our chemistry is getting better and better," said Warren senior Evan Yabs.
Leading by eight at the break, the Warriors weathered Chesapeake's last offensive push, when the lead was cut to six on a bucket by Caleb Lindsey with 5:24 to go in the third.
And after that desperate push by Chesapeake, it was all about the Warriors.
French scored in the paint and then found a wide-open Danny Pannell after a steal the next time down the court to put the Warriors on a 9-0 run to make the score 37-22 with 2:40 to go in the period.
Patton, who was held scoreless in the first half, found his rhythm as the quarter wound down by hitting a three off Adam Lang's assist to put Warren up 45-28 heading into the final quarter.
Another bucket from Patton gave the Warriors their largest lead of the contest, 60-35, with 4:24 remaining in regulation.
From there the Warrior regulars headed to the bench, but even then the reserves kept the pressure up against a traditional basketball powerhouse in southeastern Ohio.
"They (players) know if you do things the right way you'll get an opportunity to help us win games," Maddox said.
Even the loose balls still found their way into the grasp of the Warrior freshmen and sophomores, as they cruised away with the win. "Diving on the floor when we're up 20, that's Warren basketball," Yabs said.
The game against Chesapeake, which fell to 3-2 on the year while Warren is 5-0, is one of several designed to increase the strength of Warren's schedule this year.
The Warriors also square off against Upper Arlington the weekend after Christmas and will face Newark Catholic later this year.
"I feel like every game this year we've taken a step forward and gotten better. That's the goal," Yabs said.