SULLIVAN TWP. — The sense of urgency is beginning to tug at their heartstrings.
The five seniors on Buckeye’s boys basketball team are realizing time is running out on their careers, and they’re no longer taking anything for granted.
In their eyes, an 80-42 victory over archrival Black River on Friday was the epitome of that.
“We’ve been rivals most of our lives, so we came out wanting to play hard and wanting to win,” Bucks center Chris Vogt said. “We weren’t going to stop.”
The Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division-leading Bucks (13-3, 10-1) walked the walk better than they talked the talk, as they went on a 19-0 run over the first 4:26. The lead then stretched to 30 before halftime was even a serious thought.
The Pirates (2-12, 1-9), who lost the first meeting 78-30 on Dec. 20, missed their first six shots and committed seven turnovers before Tyler Potter (11 points, 5 rebounds) finally got them on the board with a three-point play.
By that time, interim Black River coach Josh Calame had already screamed the word “scared” at least five times and kicked the bleachers with such force the echo permeated the gym.
“It came down to us not being ready to go and not truly believing that we can play with them,” Calame said.
Leading the early Buckeye charge was shooting guard John Tighe, who had nine points, three rebounds and a behind-the-back pass to Garrett Beck (11 points) for a layup. Point guard Cory Inman (10) added two points, four steals and later scored to make it 27-3 late in the quarter, while Jeff Miller (12, 6 rebounds, 3 steals) compiled four points and two blocks.
Even with all the gaudy numbers that took less than 5 minutes to compile, their efforts took a back seat to the 6-foot-5 Vogt, who scored the first six points and threw down a right-handed dunk in transition.
“I really didn’t expect to do that,” he said. “I caught the ball and it felt right with good timing and good footwork. I was high enough, so I said, ‘Why not?”’
Buckeye began the game in its standard matchup 2-3 zone, but quickly went to a 2-2-1 press. As if that wasn’t enough, the Bucks sprinkled in a half-court trap almost as a direct reaction to the first time they heard Calame say the word “scared.”
In the 27-5 quarter, Buckeye committed just one turnover, shot 11-for-18 from the floor and made all five free throw attempts. It also outrebounded Black River 11-5 and stole eight passes.
The Bucks led 48-15 at halftime en route to finishing with the 10th-highest margin of victory in the school’s 1,234-game history.
“We have a hard time initiating a good start, so we had to come out, heat up, play well and play hard from the get-go,” Vogt said.
Black River was led by sophomore post Dylan Lewis’ nine points and three rebounds off the bench. Starting point guard Allan Benson scored seven of his 10 points in the second half, while Potter netted all five of the Pirates’ first-quarter points.
Buckeye turned down the heat to such an extent over the final 16 minutes that it committed three turnovers after passing up wide-open layups. Backup post Mason Stanton scored a career-high 10 points, Robert Miller added nine and Nate Polidori chipped in six points and three assists.
Coach Matt Saunders used his six bench players for the final 9:23 after rolling to a 63-20 advantage.
“We came out really slow at Brooklyn (in a 60-44 victory Thursday) and the point was, ‘Don’t waste these opportunities,”’ Saunders said with 14-month-old son Tyson in tow. “Man, did they come out not wanting to waste this one, you know? There was a ton of energy.”
|Tim Tebow lookalike and former Buckeye shooting guard Mike Bacho was in attendance.
lDue to a blood stain, Black River freshman Curtis Roupe changed his jersey from No. 32 to No. 40 between the third and fourth quarters.
l Liam Murray exploded for 28 points to lead the Bucks junior varsity to a 71-31 victory. Derek Hawley had eight points for the Pirates.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buckeye 80, Black River 42
BUCKEYE 27 21 18 14 — 80
BLACK RIVER 5 10 8 19 — 42
Buckeye — Garrett Beck 5-0-11, Jeff Miller 5-2-12, Chris Vogt 5-2-12, John Tighe 5-1-11, Cory Inman 2-5-9, Nate Polidori 2-2-6, Tyler Hagmeier 0-0-0, Robert Miller 2-4-9, Hayden Roskey 0-0-0, Mason Stanton 5-0-10, Nick Wills 0-0-0. TOTALS: 31-16-80.
Black River — Logan Goff 0-2-2, Curtis Roupe 2-1-5, Tyler Potter 4-3-11, Alex McIntyre 1-0-2, Allan Benson 3-3-10, Glen Crabtree 1-0-3, Dylan Lewis 4-1-9, Brad Spencer 0-0-0, Derek Hawley 0-0-0, David Jeske 0-0-0. TOTALS: 15-10-42.
3-point goals — Beck, R. Miller, Benson, Crabtree. Rebounds — Buckeye 35 (Vogt 8), Black River 25 (Roupe 6). Assists — Buckeye 13 (Tighe 5), Black River 8 (Benson, Roupe 2). Records — Buckeye (13-3, 10-1), Black River (2-12, 1-9). Junior varsity — Buckeye 71, Black River 31.