Blowout at Sutton: French’s 30 leads Warren to 86-56 win over MHS

Warren junior Evan French dropped 30 points and was 11-for-19 from the floor, including 5-for-8 from beyond the arch, in an 86-56 victory over rival Marietta at Sutton Gym Tuesday night.

It seemed every time the Tigers started to make a run, French was there to respond with a big shot to quiet the large crowd and bring the momentum back in Warren’s favor.

“All my teammates came together and were setting screens,” French said. “We just really worked as a team. Without working as a team, we wouldn’t have gotten to where we were.”

Warren head coach Blane Maddox echoed what French said.

“He’s an awesome player, but you’ve also got to realize that he’s got an awesome team that’s willing to screen for him and willing to get him the ball when he’s hot. They move the basketball and they play to their strengths.”

French was joined in double-digit scoring by junior Reece Patton (21) and sophomore Michael Hall (15).

The Warriors shot 29-of-58 (50 percent) from the floor and 16-for-20 from the foul line.

“I told the guys we had some good things. A good thing was we got down 7-0 and kept our composure,” Maddox said. “We didn’t let it rattle us a bit. We came back and went on a huge run ourselves. That’s what I was really proud of.”

Marietta shot well in its own right, going 20-for-41 (49 percent) from the floor, but could not keep up with the Warriors.

“We knew if French got hot, that would be an issue for us,” said Marietta head coach J.D. Secrest. “When they come in and knock in shots, they’re tough to beat.”

Warren also held a huge advantage on the boards, out-rebounding the Tigers 27-12.

Marietta came out draining shots to send Sutton Gymnasium in a frenzy. Junior Adam McKnight hit a 3-pointer off the opening tip and then made a wide open layup off a Warren turnover.

After Billy Weekly’s layup made it 7-0 in Marietta’s favor, the Warriors woke up.

After Hall nailed a jumper to get Warren on the board, Evan French hit three foul shots to bring it to 7-5. Reece Patton then hit a pair of free throws followed by a French layup to put Warren up 9-7.

A 3-ball from Hill gave Marietta the lead back, but Patton quickly responded with a 3-pointer on an assist from senior Matt Drayer to put Warren up for good. After a Billy Weekly free throw made it 12-11, Patton and junior Adam Lang combined for six points to close the quarter with the Warriors up 18-11.

Freshman John Henry opened the second quarter with a floater to make it 18-13. Senior Dylan Leffingwell hit a layup for Warren, but junior Braden Riley answered with a mid-range jumper on an assist from junior Adam Gearhart to make it 20-15.

Hall sandwiched a pair of foul shots between treys from French and senior Evan Yabs to make 28-15. Henry responded with a 3-pointer of his own, but Hall quickly answered with his only 3 of the game. A free throw from Lang and another 3-pointer from French made it 35-18 before free throws from Hill cut it to 35-20.

The Warriors then went on an 11-0 run to make it 46-20. The run was led by French’s seven markers. French was not done in the first half, answering a layup by Riley with yet another 3-pointer before a free throw from sophomore Zach LaBarre made it 49-23 at halftime.

“This is probably one of the biggest crowds we have to face,” French said. “It’s a real big thing to get them out of the game and I think we did that real well. We tried to just block out all the outside voices and just play how we knew how to play the game.”

Marietta brought it back to a 20-point game in the third quarter. Hill hit a trio of 3-pointers and McKnight and senior Cameron Benson each hit one to make it 66-46 going into the final quarter. Warren responded by doubling up the Tigers 20-10 in the fourth to make it 86-56 at the final buzzer.

“We battled back in the second half,” Secrest said. “We were able to knock in some shots. We played hard, we played 32 minutes. It just goes back to the fact that they have more weapons than us.”

Hill led Marietta with 14 points. McKnight was the only other Tiger in double digits with 10.

Patton grabbed a game-high nine rebounds while Hall topped everyone with three steals.

Warren is now 11-1 on the season and will head home Friday where it will host Gallia Academy in an SEOAL matchup. The Warriors have won five in a row.

“I’m just really happy with the team win and the way we played in the first and second quarter and finished them off in the fourth,” Maddox said.

On the flip side, Marietta has dropped four in a row to go to 5-8, and will look to rebound Friday on the road against Coshocton.