YORK TWP. — There were 86 reasons why the Buckeye boys basketball team was motivated Tuesday.
Approximately 54 hours after Firelands chose the bye in front of the Bucks at the Westlake Division II District draw, Buckeye brought the hammer in an impressive 86-62 Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division victory.
The Bucks (16-3, 3-1) can clinch a share of the division title Friday at Brookside (11-8, 8-5), but were more concerned with giving the Falcons (7-10, 4-8) a preview of the potential March 1 rematch.
The aftermath: The Bucks scored their most points since beating Lutheran West 86-59 on Dec. 18, 1987.
“We knew coming into the game that they picked us to (potentially) play them in the playoffs,” center and Ivan Drago/Macaulay Culkin lookalike Chris Vogt said. “We wanted to come out and show them that they’re going to regret that choice.”
Efficiency was the word of the night against a Firelands team entered play allowing just 48.6 points per game, as Buckeye was 36-for-57 (.632) from the floor and 7-for-9 from the foul line and 3-point arc.
Vogt (19 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks), power forward Jeff Miller (19, 9), small forward Garrett Beck (16, 5) and shooting guard John Tighe (18 points, 3 assists) each scored 16 or more points.
Point guard Cory Inman reached double-digits, too, with ten of his career-high 11 assists in the first 23 minutes.
“It all starts inside with Vogt,” Miller said. “When he starts scoring, (the defense) has to collapse and that opens up Beck and John Tighe, who are two great shooters in the league.”
Interior-challenged Firelands hit 10-of-19 3-pointers but was powerless against the 6-5 Vogt and 6-3 Miller despite packing in its 2-3 zone. Point guard Cole Sklarek had 16 points, shooting guard Jimmy Willbond added 12 on four first-quarter 3-pointers and small forward Casey Smith, who was averaging 14.7 points over the previous six games, had three points and six assists.
The difference was a 15-2 Buckeye run to close the first half. The score got more lopsided in the third, as the Bucks won the middle quarters 49-30 behind 21-for-31 shooting.
“We moved the ball around and looked inside,” Vogt said. “The posts got inside and looked to kick it out. Every played well and played their role.”
That was because Buckeye did not take Firelands lightly.
“The coaches had a great scouting report and we switched up our defense to not given them as many open looks,” Miller said. “That team shoots really well.”
Beck now has 934 career points.