Warren High was ambushed by visiting Portsmouth High 66-60 in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League boys' basketball game earlier in the season.
The Blane Maddox-coached Warriors (12-3) will be seeking to return the favor in the two schools' second meeting on the Trojans court Friday at 7:30 p.m.
At stake will be the top spot in the SEOAL.
KEVIN PIERSON The Marietta Times
Warren’s Blake Kidder (33) drives to the basketball as a Logan player defends during Southeastern Ohio Athletic League boys’ basketball action on Jan. 10. The Warriors are scheduled to play at Portsmouth in an SEOAL showdown Friday night.
Currently, Gene Collins-led Portsmouth leads the league with defending conference champion Warren, which went undefeated in league play a year ago, a close second.
"This is it," Maddox said. "If we don't win this one, there will be no (repeat) title for Warren.
"Portsmouth played us exceptionally well the first time, and they're going to have to do it again, if they're going to beat us. Right now, we're playing really good basketball."
Considering Portsmouth went 10-13 last season, it is a much improved ballclub. This winter, the Trojans are 11-3, which also includes a 67-49 triumph over state-ranked and previously undefeated Peeples this month.
"Their record last season was a little deceiving," Maddox said. "They are well-coached, and they are a year older and have everyone back."
Against Warren, PHS basically won by shutting down one of the Warriors' Big 3. Reece Patton scored 20 points, and Michael Hall chipped in with 16 for the royal blue and white. But Division II all-stater Evan French was limited to just three points on one of nine shooting from the floor.
Andrew Drayer, who stepped up to net nine points against the Trojans, and Aaron Mazurkiewicz are expected to be Warren's other two starters. Look for Blake Kidder and Andrew Henthorn to be the first people off the pine.
Defensively, Portsmouth played a box-and-one on French, and obviously it was effective.
If the Warriors can free the 6-foot-4 French up for some good looks at the rim this time around, things could possibly be different.
"Portsmouth played a one-three chaser on Evan," Maddox said. "We'll make adjustments, and see what happens.
"I don't think he'll be held to three points this time."
Warren was slated to host Athens High Tuesday night, but that contest was postponed due to the inclement weather, and rescheduled for Feb. 3.
Last Sunday, at West Muskingum High in the Route 40 Classic, the Warriors defeated Columbus Bishop Hartley (8-3), 63-52. Hall led the way with 22 points, including four treys. French chipped in with 19 markers, and Patton netted 13.
All three had a dunk in the game.
Meanwhile, Portsmouth figures to be no pushover, especially on its home floor. In the first meeting against Warren, the Trojans were paced by Ky're Allison, who posted a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Kendal Reynolds added 18 points, and was four of five from 3-point range. Hunter Gibson netted nine markers.
Sky Oliver will be another PHS weapon that Warren won't be able to ignore. He had a game-high 19 points against Peeples.
And, Isiaha Lisath is considered a top-notched Trojans defender.
"We have a lot of respect for Portsmouth," Maddox said.
"But we hope to put a damper on their dance (Friday night). We're very excited where we're at right now."