VINCENT - Warren is in a position to run its regular-season schedule table, starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday when Portsmouth visits Vincent for a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League boys' basketball game.
After the Trojans and visiting New Lexington on Jan. 29, the Blane Maddox-coached Warriors face familiar opponents, who they've already defeated once this season.
A 20-plus win season for Warren is a distinct possibility.
Photo courtesy of Robin Pannell
Warren sharpshooter Evan French follows through after a perimeter shot against Gallia Academy in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League boys’ basektball game in Vincent last Friday night.
The royal blue and white cagers have been on a roll since their 69-47 setback to Upper Arlington in the Ohio River Classic at Marietta College on Dec. 29, 2012.
"We don't want to forget it," said Maddox after the Upper Arlington game. "We want to learn from it. That's why we put them on the schedule. It was a good experience. We've got to grow up, and we've got to get better."
It's probably safe to say that the Warriors have done just that - gotten better.
Since the loss to UA, Warren (13-1) has won eight straight games, including Monday's 55-52 triumph over Newark Catholic (11-3) in the Route 40 Classic at West Muskingum. The Green Wave led most of the contest, but the Warriors were not to be denied.
Reece Patton paced the royal blue and white winners with 23 points, and Michael Hall chipped in with 14, including two clutch freebies at the end.
David Meurer led NC (11-3) with a game-high 24 points, and Conor Keck netted 12.
"That was a quality team we played," Maddox said.
The Portsmouth game is a big game, too, because it's the next one. It's also an SEOAL tilt, which makes it very important, because one of Warren's goals this season is to win the league championship.
Overall, the Eugene Collins-coached Trojans are a .500-type ballclub but with a winning mark in the SEOAL. They could be a very dangerous opponent for the Warriors.
"They're a very young, very skilled team," Maddox said. "We have the home court advantage, and we just need to take care of business."
Portsmouth is paced by Jayllen Carter, who is very capable of lighting up the scoreboard. In a game against winless Jackson this season, he set a new single-game school scoring record with 44 points.
"He's a big time scorer," Maddox said.
Warren's defense will also need to keep an eye on Austin Peano, Isiaha Lisath and Connor Lasswell.
The Warriors will probably counter with Evan French, Patton, Hall, Dylan Leffingwell, and Evan Yabs. Danny Pannell, Adam Lang and Matt Drayer are expected to see significant playing time as well.
"Things have really come together for us," Maddox said. "And I'm very proud of what this team has done. We just need to finish strong."