MINFORD – A lot can be said about a team by how they respond to a loss, and Tuesday night, the Minford Falcons spoke volumes. Just a few days after suffering their first SOC II loss of the season to the Wheelersburg Pirates, the Minford Falcons were able to rebound, as they defeated the Portsmouth West Senators.
After starting the game red hot, the Falcons took advantage of a 25-point first quarter, and 11-point lead to eventually finish off the Senators, 80-62.
“I thought it was a good bounce back,” Minford coach Josh Shoemaker said.
The Falcons had a tremendous first quarter, which was led offensively by Trey Kelley and Brandon Rowe.
Kelley led the Falcons in scoring Tuesday night, finishing with 27 points, including four three-pointers. He scored 12 points in the first quarter, which helped Minford gain a quick lead in the game.
Rowe’s first quarter saw the senior guard score nine points. He would gain another 10 points in the following quarters, finishing with 19. Rowe also shot well from the free throw line, hitting six of his seven attempts.
The Minford defense caused several West turnovers early in the game, as well as picked up some key defensive rebounds.
“I thought defensively we were able to capitalize on some of their missed shots, which turned into transition,” Shoemaker said.
The first half was no friend to the Senators. After giving up 25 points in the first quarter, and trailing by 11 points, things only got worse for West in the second quarter. The Senators’ offense nearly disappeared in the second quarter, as the Falcons outscored the Senators by 10 points, 16-6.
At halftime, West was facing a huge 21-point mountain of a deficit, but West coach Scott Davis urged his kids to respond positively, and to chip away at the Minford lead.
“We went into the locker room and I said, ‘let’s start over,’” Davis said. “Let’s fix what we did wrong and come back out here and play.”
Drew Howard answered his coach’s call and came up big for the Senators in the second half. Nearly everything he shot found the basket in the second half, where he scored all of his 18 points, leading West in scoring. Howard hit two big three-pointers early in the third quarter on back to back possessions, and then hit another pair of threes in the fourth.
“Drew got hot, but we just couldn’t get him the ball,” Davis said. “He got hot there in the second half and we were trying to get him open and get him the ball, but we just couldn’t get him the ball. But he was hitting everything coming and going.”
The Senators also had a big night from sophomore Jordan Frasure, who finished just behind Howard, scoring 17 points. Frasure played a solid game from the opening tipoff until he fouled out with 39 seconds remaining in the game.
While the Senators weren’t able to completely erase the Falcon lead, there were a few times in the second half West was able to chip away at the lead and cut it in half.
The most notable of the Senators’ second half runs came in the fourth quarter when they cut Minford’s lead to only nine points, with 5:48 seconds left in the game. That would be as close as the Senators would come to Minford, as they would eventually fall to the Falcons, 80-62.
“I couldn’t have been more proud of them in the third quarter,” Davis said. “We outscored them 20-16 in the third, and then stayed right with them 23-22 in the fourth. In the second half, we played basketball. In the first, I don’t know, I don’t know.”
Shoemaker was happy with the way his bench players stepped up and played against the Senators.
“I thought our bench played really well tonight,” Shoemaker said. “Cam Dalton had his best game of the year as a freshman, and Dillon Shepherd gave us some good minutes.”
Dalton scored nine points Tuesday night, and went five for six from the free throw line. Shepherd finished the night with four points, while getting minutes in every quarter of play.
“West did a good job in that second half,” Shoemaker said. “They could have easily hung it up, but they played hard. Coach Davis does a great job with them.”
The Falcons will host the Oak Hill Oaks Friday evening. Tipoff is set for around 7:30 p.m.
West will host the South Webster Jeeps Friday night. That game between the two SOC rivals is set to tip at about 7:30.
Minford – Kelley 11-1-27, Rowe 6-6-19, Dalton 2-5-9, Thoroughman 3-0-6, Gullett 1-3-6, Shepherd 1-2-4, Alley 2-0-4, McCormick 1-0-2, Perry 0-2-2, Compton 0-1-1
West – Howard 6-2-18, Frasure 5-5-17, Finley 3-2-8, Patrick 2-0-6, Opperman 2-0-4, Thurman 1-0-2, Kegley 0-1-1
Three-point field goals – Minford 6 (Kelley 4, Rowe, Gullett) West 9 (Howard 4, Patrick 2, Frasure 2, Maynard)
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.