VINCENT - Warren is 8-0 at the start of the new year, and of late has been road Warrior tough with three straight away wins.
Before returning home to Vincent to host Jackson on Jan. 13, the Warriors have one more journey to make - to Chillicothe in a key Southeastern Ohio Athletic League boys' basketball game at Hatton Memorial Gym at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
"Chillicothe is big and good like always," said Warren head coach Blane Maddox. "They just seem to reload every year."
CHS, the owner of a 6-3 overall record, was a nemesis of Warren last season, sweeping three straight games from the Warriors. Last year, the royal blue and white cagers were 7-0 until the Gary Kellough-coached Cavaliers put a blemish on their record.
"Two of the losses were close, and one game came on a last-second shot," Maddox recalled. "Maybe it's our turn to win this year, because we know in our minds that we can beat them."
Of course, it'll be a challenge to do so, especially playing on the Cavs' floor and going up aginst a 6-foot-7 pivot player by the name of Malik London - a Cleveland State University commitment.
"We won't be facing too many players like Malik London this season," Maddox said. "He's a DI center and a big defensive stopper. We're going to have to put a body on him."
Warren doesn't have any player on its roster as tall as London. But it does have three - Josh Windland, Evan French, and Reece Patton - listed at 6-4. And, the thing is, the Warriors overall are a very good rebounding basketball team.
"We've outrebounded every team we've played so far this season," Maddox said.
Besides London, Chillicothe has some other good players who Warren will need to keep an eye on in Jalen Jones, Aaron Elliott and Zack Johnson.
Overall, CHS is a younger team and has had a tendency to turn over the ball. In their last two games, the Cavs gave it up a combined 43 times - 22 in a win against Fairfield Union and 21 in loss to Eastmoor Academy.
"Chillicothe plays a tough schedule," Maddox said.
So does Warren.
WHS is coming off a hard-fought 54-50 win at Fort Frye last Friday night. In that non-conference game, the Warriors had 17 turnovers, which is too many according to Maddox.
"We need to get that down below 10," the Warren boss said.
Against Chilli, Warren is expected to start Tyler Ward, Jeremy Hastie, Jace Knost, Windland and French.
Look for Austin Henthorn and Patton to be a couple of the first Warriors off the bench.
"We've been solid and have been playing good so far," Maddox said. "It should be a good game against Chilli."