By JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
AMANDA — Logan Elm held off a competitive Amanda-Clearcreek team Friday night for a 69-50 Mid-State League win.
Isaac Ward led the Braves with 26 while Gabe Chalfin tacked on 21.
“That’s good to see. That’s what we need and have kind of been missing a little bit,” LE coach Doug Stiverson said. “I thought Gabe came out and played really aggressive tonight and played with confidence. When he can knock down some threes that just helps his overall game. It makes getting to the basket a lot easier and really helps us offensively and allows us to spread the floor even more.
“Isaac has been pretty consistent and got us going offensively to start. Hopefully we can build off that tonight offensively and build on that the next two weeks.
When these two teams met a few weeks ago at Logan Elm, points were hard to come by for the Aces in a 46-19 loss.
This time the Aces came out shooting well — hitting 8 of 11 shots in the first quarter to lead 18-14.
The Braves came out hot to start the second quarter scoring the first 10 points and had a 34-27 lead at the half.
While AC continued to shoot well (12-17 in the first half), the Braves took advantage of a dozen AC turnovers.
“They have a lot of pride and we knew coming in they were going to play a lot better tonight on their home floor. We knew we were going to have to come in and play well,” Stiverson said. “They shot the ball extremely well pretty much all night. Once we settled in a little bit, I thought our defense propelled us the rest of the game. The second quarter was a lot better, the third and then the start of the fourth — we were able to get some steals and get in the open floor.”
A strong start was something that Aces have been missing recently.
“The last couple of games we’ve struggled getting off to fast starts. We’re letting if they get a couple of scores early dictate our effort and energy level,” AC coach Jamie Justus said. “Tonight, we talked before the game that this is a very, very skilled basketball team. The work that these kids put in during the offseason shows – the way they’re built, the way they can shoot, the way they can handle the basketball – they hit tough shots all night.
“The first time we played, they just took us out of anything we wanted to do. I thought we did a pretty good job of getting looks inside. Our post guys have come a long way this year, so we tried to get some looks inside early. Getting off to a fast start is something we talked about all week, and not getting ourselves in a hole because it’s tough to overcome — especially against a good ball team like this.”
Senior Lane Stevens had eight of his team-best 16 points in the first quarter for the Aces. Peyton Cassley had 10 and Cade Young put in nine.
While the Aces were shooting well from the field (17-23 through three quarters and 20-32 for the game), too many turnovers (22) kept them from staying with the Braves.
“When you come down and have some careless turnovers against a team like Logan Elm, they’re going to make you pay for it,” Justus said. “They got after us for 32 minutes. I thought our energy tonight was great and the effort tonight was great. That’s a really good ball team we competed with for about three and a half quarters, take away about five or six minutes of bad basketball.”
Along with the 47 points from Ward and Chalfin, LE had nine from Jason Sailor and eight from Braylen Baker plus three from Tanner Holbert and two from Jeremy Weitelman.
Justus said the number of weapons the Braves put on the floor makes it difficult on a defense.
“You’ve got to pick your poison and the most impressive thing about them is how much time they put in and it shows. The way they play is a direct reflection of how hard they work,” he said. “Isaac Ward is very shifty, the Chalfin kid can score, Sailor is strong and physical, you got the Baker kid who comes off the bench who’s athletic, you’ve got Holbert who comes off the bench and can score, the (Trace) Smith kid can step out and if you help too much off of him, he’ll knock down an open three, so they’re a difficult team to prepare for.”
The Aces had a 19-14 rebounding edge in the game led by six from Young. Chalfin grabbed five for the Braves.
Both teams are set to return to action Tuesday evening. The Braves (10-1, 8-1) are set to host Circleville while the Aces (5-11, 2-9) will be home with Liberty Union.
Logan Elm was a 45-31 winner in the JV game.
Konnor Starkey led LE with 12 points, Drew Tomlinson had 10, Landon Long had six, Carsen Summers had five, Brody Sabine and Garrett Summers each had four and Carter Weitelman and Gavin Griffey put in two each.
Tucker Shamblin led the Aces with 18.
Logan Elm 69, Amanda-Clearcreek 50
Logan Elm — Jeremy Weitelman 1-0-2, Isaac Ward 9-5-26, Braylen Baker 4-0-8, Jason Sailor 4-0-8, Gabe Chalfin 8-2-21, Tanner Holbert 1-0-3. Three-point goals — Ward (3), Chalfin (3), Holbert. Total — 27-47 8-10 69.
Amanda-Clearcreek — Clayton Rhyne 1-0-2, Brody Pugh 2-0-4, Tayvon Miller 2-0-4, Nate Hunter 2-0-5, Peyton Cassley 4-1-10, Cade Young 3-3-9, Lane Stevens 6-0-16. Three-point goals — Hunter, Cassley, Stevens (4). Total — 20-32 4-6 50.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Logan Elm 14 20 17 18 69
Amanda-Clearcreek 18 9 15 8 50