Warren knocks off red-hot Alexander, 59-46

JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times Warren’s Clay Miller (21) gets ready to give the ball to teammate Seth Dennis as Alexander’s Matthew Brown (14) and Dylan Mecum defend during a high school boys basketball game Tuesday in Vincent. Warren won, 59-46.

VINCENT — Playing Alexander offers a tall task for opponents.

Listed at 6-foot-11, Spartans’ post Caleb Terry was by far the biggest player on the floor in Tuesday’s matchup against Alexander and Warren. However, the Warriors held their own against the big man and claimed a 59-46 win over the 12th-ranked team in Division III.

“We prepared for him all week,” said Warren senior Austin Barta, who finished with 10 points, six rebounds, three steals and helped defend Terry. “He’s a huge factor. He disrupts everything with his length and he’s so hard to deal with down low. I feel like as a team, we did what we had to do to win. It wasn’t just one guy, it was everybody.”

Seth Dennis led the Warriors with 18 points and four steals. Noah Nichols added 16 points and a team-high seven boards while Clay Miller scored 11 points and notched five assists.

Terry paced the Spartans with 13 points and also registered three blocks, but was called for two goaltends in the game as well. Dylan Mecum added 12 points for Alexander, which is now 11-2 overall this season.

“He’s a handful,” said Warren head coach Blane Maddox. “We said we’ve got to make those guys hit five-footers because we can’t give (Terry) the layup right over the rim. Clay (Miller) battled hard and I thought Austin Barta had some sweet steals tonight and did a wonderful job.”

Both teams looked even in the first half. Warren held a 17-16 lead after the first quarter. Back-to-back baskets by Dennis gave the Warriors a four-point lead, 23-19, midway through the second period, but a pair of jumpers by Mecum tied the game back up. Dennis’ 3 off an assist from Miller made it 26-23 at halftime.

With less than three minutes to go in the third, Warren started to gain a little breathing room. Miller’s putback followed by two free-throws from Brandon Simoniette made it a seven-point advantage. 36-29. Joel Chevalier assisted Dennis on a layup and then Barta on a 3-pointer to stretch it to 10 before Terry’s three-point play closed the quarter at 41-34.

“We were able to get the lead which was huge to be able to play the way we wanted to play,” Maddox said.

“I thought that was a solid, solid way to play old school basketball.”

Barta hit another 3 off an assist from Dennis to open the fourth and increase the margin back to 10. Alexander’s Trey Schaller assisted Terry on a layup before a 10-0 run by Warren put the game away. Miller scored five of those points, including a basket at the 2:33 mark to make it 54-36. JK Kearns knocked down a couple 3s in the final minutes for the Spartans, but Warren cruised to the final whistle.

It was a bounceback win for the Warriors, who fell to Parkersburg South Friday.

“This was really big for us,” Maddox said. “That’s a big, strong team with good guard play. I thought we played outstanding in the second half.”

Added Barta, “Every win is huge at this point. They’re a great team. High respect for the way they play. I believe they’re ranked 12th in the state in D3, so it’s always huge getting a big win like that.”

Warren drained 48 percent (21 for 44) of its shots in the game. Alexander went 45 percent (17 for 38) from the floor but turned the ball over 15 times to Warren’s eight.

“They play hard,” Maddox said of his team. “With the schedule we have, we’ve seen it all before. We haven’t seen 6-11 or whatever he is, but we have seen 6-6, 6-7, some big kids. So we’re getting accustomed to that. We’re just trying to see all types of different styles and trying to be able to answer all those challenges.”