Prep basketball: French notches 1,000th career point

Evan French scored his 1,000th career point to highlight Warren’s 64-51 triumph over previously undefeated Lucasville Valley in an Ohio River Classic boys’ basketball game at Marietta College’s Ban Johnson Arena Saturday night.

“I wasn’t really thinking about it during the game,” said the 6-foot-4 French, who finished the contest with a game-high 20 points. The team and game MVP now has 1,005 career points. “We were just trying to get the win.”

For the royal blue and white winners, Reece Patton added 14 points, 12 after the break; Michael Hall chipped in with 11 points and nine rebounds; and non-starter Kyler Dennis netted eight markers, all in the first half.

French and Patton each was 6-for-6 from the foul line in the contest.

“Freshman Kyler Dennis stepped in and helped us out,” said Warren head coach Blane Maddox, whose Warriors improved their overall record to 5-1. “Blake (Kidder) helped us out. (Andrew) Henthorn helped us out. I thought Henthorn was in a groove, and I liked the defensive effort he was giving us right there.”

Valley, now 6-1 on the season, was paced by team MVP Hayden Dunn, Jordan West, and Bryan Rolfe, who each had 11 points. As a team, the Indians were 6-for-16 from the charity stripe.

“They were definitely physical and big,” Patton said. “They were a tough team, and I think playing them is going to help us down the road. It worked out in our favor.”

Thanks to back-to-back threes by Kidder and French near the end of the first quarter, Warren was able to stake itself to a 17-15 advantage.

At the start of the second period, Kidder and French did it again, and the Warriors led 23-15.

“We came out slow in the game, but we had a good run right there,” Maddox said. “We shot enough of them (threes) to make four in a row.”

With 2:38 left in the stanza, the Indians came back and tied the score at 26-all on West’s bucket and bonus freebie.

Warren got the lead back, though, when Dennis, off a Henthorn assist, scored on a layup.

At halftime, the Warriors led 28-27.

“We’re up one and we have 14 turnovers in the first half,” Maddox said. “I was not pleased.

“We’ve got to put a little bit more love into the ball and not give it up so easy. We’ve just got to take care of it. In the second half, we took care of business a little bit better with two turnovers and got more shots up.”

Sparked by Patton’s nine third-quarter points, Warren maintained the advantage for most of the eight minutes. Near the close of the stanza, Valley took the lead briefly, 40-39, on Chris Flowers’ trey. But Patton’s jumper put the Warriors back on top going into the final eight minutes of play.

At the 5:45 mark of the fourth quarter, French knocked down a triple to give him 1,002 career points. After a timeout was called, the public address announcer relayed the milestone achievement to the people in attendance.

“Everybody’s happy for Evan,” Maddox said. “He’s worked so hard to become a great basketball player. He deserves to be a 1,000-point scorer.”

French’s trey also gave Warren a 53-45 lead, and that advantage stretched to double digits, 57-47, on back-to-back baskets by Hall.

“We just really came together in the second half,” French said.

Added Maddox, “It was a good team win tonight.”

Warren is scheduled to play at Bishop Watterson today at 5:30 p.m. (JV start with varsity to follow). The Warriors’ athletic department will be getting half the gate at the game if the royal blue and white faithful wear blue at the game.

NOTES: French, a West Liberty University recruit, became Maddox’s first Warrior cager to eclipse the 1,000-point milestone. In Maddox’s 15 years at the royal blue and white helm, he’s coached some really good ones, like for instance Curt Morris and Austin Cunningham, who both came up just short of the 1,000-point mark…In last year’s Ohio River Classic at Ban Johnson Arena, Warren suffered a 69-47 setback to Upper Arlington. It was just one of two losses the state tournament-bound Warriors had all winter…According to a Lucasville Valley radio person, 11 of the 12 players on the basketball roster played football for the playoff-bound Indians this past fall.