Golden Eagle boys s drop back-to-back OCC tilts to Orange, Heights
By ERIC CLINE
For The Sunbury News
You can’t win unless you score, but if you can’t score, you’d better have a strong defense.
The Orange Pioneers have a solid defense, and used it well in their 56–44 Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division victory over the Big Walnut Golden Eagles last Tuesday (January 8) night at Big Walnut High School.
Orange (7–1, 4–1 OCC) had trouble getting its offense going in the opening period, but shut down the Big Walnut (5–7, 1–5 OCC) offense much of the evening, holding the Golden Eagles to single-digit scoring in the first three periods.
“We set goals defensively every game, and our kids are buying in,” Orange head coach Anthony Calo said. “We’re getting better and better every single day, and it starts in practice. We’re doing a much better job of being more consistently focused and intense in practice and it’s paying off. It’s showing on the floor.”
“Their pressure disrupted us all night,” Big Walnut head coach Eric Myers said. “We were unable to get any type of offense established and get into any kind of offensive rhythm. They did a great job of pressuring our point guard, and that really bothered us, so we’ll get in tomorrow and work to correct that.”
The defense allowed the Pioneers time to get their offense on track. Big Walnut also played a solid defense on senior Nick Deitsch, Orange’s leading scorer, but had trouble stopping senior forward Tyler Dillard, who finished with a career-high 23 points, all coming after the first quarter.
“Tyler’s been doing a good job becoming that secondary scorer for us,” Calo said. “Nick is obviously a very good player and people are paying a lot of attention to him, but all of our guys have been working on their skills and all of them are ready to step up. We’re not a one-man team, so it’s exciting to see our other guys playing well.”
“Nick’s a great scorer,” Myers said. “He’s a great scorer and a pure basketball player and we did a good job on him, but unfortunately, Tyler Dillard stepped up and had a big night. When you stop one, you almost have to pick your poison with Orange.”
After playing to an 8-all tie in the first, Orange opened the second period with a 9–2 run and outscored the Golden Eagles 14–7 in the quarter to take a 22–15 halftime lead.
The Pioneers continued their strong play in the third, using an 11–3 run in the middle of the period to push their lead to 13 points, 33–20.
Big Walnut tried valiantly to get back into the game, first with the three-pointer and later on by sending Orange to the foul line, but the Pioneers seemed always to have an answer.
Golden Eagle senior Zach Laughman hit a three-ball to cut the deficit to 10 points, 33–23, after three quarters, then canned another trey early in the fourth, and fellow senior Adam Shaheen converted a three-point play midway through the final quarter, but each time, it only nicked down an ever-increasing deficit as Orange built the lead back to 15 points, 48–33, with 2:20 to play.
A dunk and two threes from Shaheen and a three-point play from Laughman would eventually cut the Pioneer lead to 10 points, 54–44, with less than a minute left, but a fast-break bucket from Dillard with 23 seconds left ended the scoring.
Deitsch finished with nine points for the Pioneers, just the second time this year the senior has been held under 10 points in a game. Senior Brandon Blake had a solid night on defense and added seven points for Orange, while seniors Brady Harris and Declan Feery and junior Dave Dawson added five points each.
Laughman, Shaheen and sophomore Michael Buckles accounted for 39 of Big Walnut’s 44 points, Laughman leading the Golden Eagles with 17 points, including four of the team’s seven threes. Shaheen finished with 15 points and two threes, while Buckles added seven points.
FRANKLIN HEIGHTS 46, BIG WALNUT 45 — The Golden Eagles had a chance late, but their final shot rimmed out in the waning seconds as the host Golden Falcons escaped with a 46–45 Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division victory Friday night in Columbus.
Big Walnut (5–8, 1–6 OCC), trailing 15–14 after the opening period, outscored the Falcons 11–5 in the second quarter to take a 25–20 lead into the intermission
However, Franklin Heights (5–6, 3–4 OCC) steadily chipped away at the deficit, outscoring the Golden Eagles 11–7 in the third quarter and 15–13 in the fourth to pull out the victory.
The difference in the game was in 3-point shooting. The Falcons, led by the long-range shooting of Joh. Tinker with three treys, and Justin Harris with two, hit 8 threes for the night, four more than the Golden Eagles. Harris led all scorers with 14 points. Tinker checked in with 13 points.
Adam Shaheen and Michael Buckles led Big Walnut in the scoring column with 13 and 10 points, respectively.