Prep boys basketball: Warren drills Jackson
VINCENT – On a night where Warren High School honored arguably the greatest class in the history of its boys basketball team, the five seniors put on a quite a display on what would be their final appearance at Warrior Coliseum.
The five Warren seniors combined for 64 points as the Warriors rolled to a 77-42 South Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference victory over the winless Jackson Ironmen Friday night.
Evan French was absolutely unstoppable in the first half once again as for the second straight game the Warrior senior scored 25 points in the first 16 minutes to send the royal blue and white to a 26-point halftime lead.
French and the big blue actually began the game a little sluggish as Jackson scored the first six points of the game and after senior Andrew Drayer got the Warriors on the board, Ironmen forward Casey Walker drilled a three-pointer to make it a 9-2 game.
French figures to earn all kinds of post season recognition and he might want to send in the film of the next three minutes of the game as evidence.
The 6-foot-4 scoring machine got things started with back-to-back triples to pull the Warriors within one and followed that up with a rare four-point play when he was fouled flagrantly as he scored on a drive to the hoop and converted both free throws.
Another drive to the basket by French resulted in another deuce and his third three-pointer of the quarter gave him and the Warriors a 15-0 run and a 17-9 lead.
Yet another triple by French closed out the opening quarter with Warren in front by 11 and a 9-0 second quarter opening run increased the lead to 20 with less than six minutes to play.
Tyler Neal snapped the Warren run with what would turn out to be the lone Jackson score of the second quarter as the Warriors finished with an 8-0 run to take a comfortable 43-17 lead into the break.
Jackson got a bucket from Walker to open the second half but once again WHS strung together a 10-3 run to extend the lead to 33 and the rout was on.
In addition to normal starters French, Drayer, and Reece Patton, Warren head coach Blane Maddox inserted seniors Marshal Church and Corey Newlen into the starting lineup.
French led the way with 33 points, while Church and Drayer both reached double figures with 12 and 11 points respectively.
Newlen scored a pair and Patton totaled just six points but led the team in rebounds with 14, assists with nine, and steals with five.
As is a Warrior tradition on senior night, Coach Maddox and all five of his seniors addressed the Warren fans and student body after the game.
“These guys wanted to share this night with everybody and it’s special when you come out here and have this much blue in the crowd,” said Maddox to the student body who gathered on the floor and the many fans left in in the stands. “It’s awesome that we respect the seniors and what they’ve done.”
Those seniors did something that no other class has done in the history of Warren High School and that is win a regional championship and make a trip to the Division II State Final Four in Columbus last year.
“When I look around I think about the legacy that these seniors have left,” said Maddox pointing to the Final Four banner hanging on the wall of the coliseum. “We will always remember this team and this group of seniors and your legacy will be up on that wall.”
Warren would like nothing better than to repeat last season’s post season run once again this year and they will find out their tournament seeding on Sunday.
The Warriors will resume regular season play Tuesday night when they travel to Marietta to take on the arch-rival Tigers.