By Brad Morris
ASHVILLE — Teays Valley forced a faster tempo in the first half on Tuesday to build an early double-digit lead and defeat visiting Logan Elm 59-51 in the Mid-State League Buckeye Division opener for both schools.
“We scouted Logan Elm in its (41-36 win) opener against Westfall and noticed they were running a slower pace with all of the injuries that they have,” Teays Valley coach Brian Barnett said. “We wanted to come out and force a quicker pace to the game and work on trying to wear them down.
“I felt like our guys did a nice job of executing our game plan, especially during the first half.”
Ryan Allton paced the Vikings with 23 points, 12 of which he scored in the first half, and also controlled five rebounds. Kole Nungester and Brody Fields followed with 11 points apiece, with Nungester also pulling down eight rebounds.
The Vikings connected on six of their first 10 (60 percent) shots to open the game, paced by Allton scoring eight points, as they opened up a 13-6 lead over the Braves after a period of play.
“Ryan is one of our best defenders and he’s also such a high energy and athletic young man that he can get to the basket and make plays,” Barnett said. “He got off to a great start driving to the basket and that evolved into knocking down some jumpers and getting to the line as the game progressed.”
Nungester paced the Vikings in the second quarter with five points and Allton accounted for four, sending Teays Valley into halftime with a commanding 28-14 lead.
The Braves were held to just 7 of 23 (30.4 percent) shooting in first half, with sophomore Nemiah Waugh scoring 12 of their 14 points.
“We can’t afford to get very far behind right now with our injuries and we definitely can’t get down by as many as we were tonight,” Logan Elm coach Doug Stiverson said. “I didn’t feel like our defensive intensity was the same as it was for the Westfall game, especially in the first half, but you also have to credit Teays Valley for knocking down shots and making some plays.”
Barnett discussed the job that Brayden Primmer did against Logan Elm senior wing Braylen Baker. Baker led the Braves with 18 points in their season-opener but was held scoreless in the first half before heating up in the second half and finishing with 14 points to go with five rebounds.
“We challenged Brayden before the game saying it was going to be a senior vs. senior battle and who was going to win,” Barnett said. “Brayden is a couple of inches taller than Braylen and has pretty good length to where that probably forced Braylen to alter some of his shots. When Braylen did get by Brayden a few times, we had good help defense.
“Holding Braylen scoreless there in the first half was big in helping us get out to our lead.”
Baker scored the opening five points of the second half to bring the Braves to within three possessions, but the Vikings quickly countered with a rare four-point play from Fields and a layup courtesy of Primmer to take a 34-19 advantage.
Barnett complimented the play of his two freshmen starters, Fields and Nungester, in their second varsity game.
“Kole and Brody give us a different dynamic this season and make it tougher for teams to defend us,” he said. “Kole is a strong guy for a freshman, he handles the ball well and I was impressed with how well he rebounded on both ends of the floor. When Brody gets that first shot to go, it picks up his confidence and he gets rolling after that. We want to get him going a little earlier in games, because he’s a pretty good shooter.”
The Vikings led by as many as 21 points during the quarter before settling on a 49-33 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Logan Elm tried to rally in the fourth quarter with 10 points from Waugh, including a layup off a turnover, to cut its deficit to 56-48 with 2:40 remaining.
“We had some spurts where I felt like we competed pretty well and did some nice things in the second half,” Stiverson said. “Our guys are always going to compete and play hard to the final horn, because that’s the expectation we have. We just need to sustain those periods of play for far longer stints and get started earlier than we did tonight.”
Following a timeout, the Vikings drained a minute off the clock before the Braves finally had to foul. Allton drained a pair of free throws to push the lead back to double digits.
“I felt like we got a little complacent as a team,” Barnett said. “We quit running our sets and couldn’t run our motion, because the first instinct our guys had when they caught the ball was to dribble. We got out to a nice lead in the third quarter, but then we started to relax. When they cut our lead down to eight, we had to call timeout, settle our guys down and have them work the clock to get to the free throw line and finish out the game.”
Waugh paced the Braves with a career-high 30 points on 13 of 23 (56.5 percent) shooting.
“Nemiah really had a great game on the offensive end,” Stiverson said. “He’s really patient with the basketball and can get to where he wants to go. Our guys did a nice job of getting him the basketball in spots to where he could score.”
The Vikings finished with a 26-18 advantage on the glass and had nine turnovers to eight for the Braves.
Teays Valley was 19 of 40 (47.5 percent) from the field and 17 of 26 (65.4 percent) at the line, compared to Logan Elm finishing 21 of 46 (45.7 percent) shooting and 6 of 8 (75 percent) at the line.
Both teams continue league play on Saturday, as the Vikings (1-1, 1-0) travel to Amanda-Clearcreek (0-2, 0-1) and the Braves (1-1, 0-1) host Hamilton Township (0-2, 0-1).
Teays Valley 59,
Logan Elm 51
LOGAN ELM — Braylen Baker 5-3-14, Nemiah Waugh 13-3-30, Carson Summers 1-0-2, Alden Williams 2-0-5. Three-point goals — Braylen Baker, Nemiah Waugh and Alden Williams. Total — 21-46 6-8 51.
TEAYS VALLEY — Kole Nungester 3-4-11, Brody Fields 3-3-11, Ryan Allton 7-8-23, Luke Burgett 0-1-1, Brayden Primmer 3-1-7, Sam Miller 2-0-4, Ivan Smith 1-0-2. Three-point goals — Brody Fields (2), Kole Nungester and Ryan Allton. Total — 19-40 17-26 59.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Logan Elm 6 8 19 18 51
Teays Valley 13 15 21 10 59