Overpowering: Warren boys defeat Gallia Academy, 61-39

VINCENT – The Warren Warriors, who have been led by their offense all winter, used defense to run past Gallia Academy 61-39 Friday night at Warrior Coliseum.

Warren still played well on the offensive end, shooting 21-of-48 (44 percent) from the floor, but it was the 18 forced turnovers and consistent pressure and physicality that gave the Warriors their sixth consecutive victory.

The Blue Devils were held to just 15-of-41 from the floor and did not score more than 10 points in any quarter.

Sophomore Michael Hall used his 6-foot-5 frame to register four blocks for the Warriors. Hall also had a game-high 18 points.

“The team was getting me open with some screens,” Hall explained. “We were working the ball well on offense and I just took what the defense gave me tonight.”

“(Hall) sees the floor real well,” Maddox said. “If you move, he’ll give you the ball in scoring position. Just an all around player. He continues every game to play harder and harder. He’s a real special player.”

The Warriors performed well even as junior standout Evan French did not play in the second half after tweaking his ankle.

“We found a way when Evan tweaked his ankle there at halftime,” said Warren head coach Blane Maddox. “Michael (Hall) stepped up and played well for us. Reece (Patton) really helped us out as did Dylan (Leffingwell). Matt Drayer got a chance to step in there, and Adam Lang and Danny (Pannell) were able to play and get a few shots off.”

The win improved the Warriors record to 12-1 overall and 6-0 in the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League this season.

Junior Reece Patton got things started with a trey off an assist from Hall to put the Warriors up 3-0. French followed suit with a 3-pointer of his own to up it to 6-0.

Justin Bailey got Gallia on the board with a layup before Hall responded with a layup of his own to make it 8-2.

After Jimmy Clagg cut the deficit in half with a jumper, French hit another 3-ball and a layup to extend the lead to 13-4. Layups by senior Evan Yabs and Hall made it 17-4 before Bailey converted a three-point play to cut it to a 10-point margin.

Later, a three-point play by Patton made it 20-9 to close out the first quarter. Patton got the scoring started in the second quarter as well on a jumper that made it 22-9. Yabs later connected on a 3-pointer to extend the Warren advantage to 27-13.

After Hall knocked in a bank shot, he and senior Dylan Leffingwell would combine for four free throws in the final minutes of the half to put the Warriors up 34-19 at the break.

Gallia’s Nick Clagg got fouled on a successful layup attempt and sank the free throw to open the second half. Leffingwell responded with a putback layup followed by a long 2-pointer from senior Danny Pannell to give the blue and white a 38-22 cushion.

After Bailey responded with a layup, senior Adam Lang quieted the Blue Devil fans with a layup-and-one after a nice feed from Patton, making the score 41-25. After Gallia hit back-to-back layups, Hall did the same to send the game into the fourth quarter with Warren up 45-29.

Warren sealed the game in the final quarter on six consecutive points from Lang and Hall. After Lang converted an old-fashioned three-point play, Hall connected on a more conventional 3-pointer to make it a 21-point game. Later, a putback by senior Matt Drayer and a pair of foul shots by Andrew Henthorn put icing on the cake.

Warren held a 24-22 edge in rebounding and shot 14-for-19 from the foul line compared to 7-for-11 for the Blue Devils.

“Gallia is really quick and they’re strong,” Maddox said. “They play you hard and we struggled to get to the rim a little bit against them, but we’re doing fine.”

Patton (11) and French (10) joined Hall in double digit scoring. Leffingwell had a game-high 10 rebounds. Gallia was led by Bailey’s 16 markers.

Warren is back in action Monday when it takes on Newark Catholic in the Route 40 Classic, and the team is feeling good about how it’s playing right now.

“We feel pretty good,” Hall said. “We have Newark Catholic coming up, so we’ve got to go out and play solid defense and get another ‘W’ and make it 13-1.”