Warren stunned: Defending SEOAL champs fall to Trojans, 66-60

VINCENT – Warren went the entire 2012-13 season without losing a game to a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League opponent or a game on its home floor.

That won’t be the case this season, as both of those events transpired Tuesday against visiting Portsmouth as the Trojans took down league-favorite Warren by a score of 66-60.

Portsmouth (2-0) out-shot and out-rebounded the Warriors, who fell to 2-1 on the year.

“We knew they were a good, solid ball team,” said Warren head coach Blane Maddox.

“We’ll learn from it, try to watch tape and make sure we get organized here.”

Portsmouth came in with a specific defensive plan – shut down Evan French. Using mostly a box-and-1 defense, the Trojans held the Division II all-stater to just three points on 1-of-9 shooting.

“Our thought today coming in was ‘Let’s see if we can take Evan French out of the game,” said Portsmouth head coach Eugene Collins. “We put a chaser on him. We were able to take him out of the game, make some other people play. It just worked.”

“The box-and-1 gave us problems,” Maddox admitted. “I really didn’t do a very good job myself of getting us in the right positions for that.”

Warren took a 2-point lead, 44-42, on a Michael Hall putback bucket late in the third quarter before a 12-3 run by Portsmouth put the Warriors at a 54-47 disadvantage going into the final period.

To open the fourth, Hall traded buckets with Portsmouth’s Ky’re Allison, who finished with a game-high 24 points, to make it a 56-49 game. After Reece Patton knocked down a long 2-point jumper, Portsmouth’s Hunter Gibson hit 1-of-2 free throws to give the Trojans a 57-51 lead with 4:48 left in the game.

Warren cut its deficit to one point with four minutes left as Aaron Mazurkiewicz assisted Patton on a 3-pointer followed by a mid-range jumper from French, his only field goal of the game.

Allison answered with a basket of his own to make it a 3-point game, 59-56. After a pair of freebies by Sky Oliver extended the lead to five points, French tried a 3-point attempt that was off the mark. Off the miss, a scramble for the loose ball ensued, with Portsmouth coming away with the possession.

The Trojans took advantage as Kendal Reynolds put in a bunny on an assist from Allison, but Warren quickly answered with a layup by Hall, making the score 63-58 with two minutes remaining.

On Portsmouth’s ensuing possession, guard Isiaha Lisath threw the ball away to give it back to Warren. Patton had a wide open look at a 3, but missed, however, a jump ball on the rebound gave it back to the Warriors.

This time, it was Andrew Henthorn who could not hit from beyond the arch. Allison grabbed the rebound and Reynolds put in another bunny with under a under a minute left for the dagger.

Portsmouth shot 25-for-51 (49 percent) for the game and picked up 34 rebounds, while Warren was 24-for-60 (40 percent) with 22 boards. From 3, Warren was just 3-for-21 (14 percent), a very uncharacteristic stat for the royal blue and white.

“We didn’t attack the rim very well,” Maddox lamented. “We kind of fell in love with the jump shot there. They gave us one shot and out-executed us on the other end.”

Individually, Patton led Warren with 20 points and seven rebounds. Hall added 16 markers.

Allison posted a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Reynolds chipped in with 18 points and was 4-for-5 from the 3-point line.

“They did a great job of getting the ball to Ky’re Allison in the middle,” Maddox said. “He created well for them.”

Warren found itself down 15-9 after the first quarter. The Warriors were just 4-for-17 from the floor in the opening period, but turned it on in the second quarter, shooting 89 percent (8-for-9), to tie it up at the half. Andrew Drayer’s six second quarter points led Warren.

“The slow start didn’t help us, but we had the momentum going into halftime,” Maddox said. “We had a good run to get ourselves back in there, and then they had the next long run there in the third quarter that got us down.”

The Warriors will look rebound Saturday when they travel to Beverly to take on Fort Frye. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.