The Buckeye Trail High boys’ basketball team overcame a sluggish start Friday night at Barnesville to erupt for 18 first quarter points en route to a 77-51 opening night victory over the Shamrocks.
Trail missed its first six field goal attempts while Barnesville build a 9-3 lead before a pair of long-range bombs sparked the Warriors’ offense and the visitors finished the quarter converting 7-of-10 field goal attempts coupled with a pair of charity tosses to lead, 18-10, after the first frame.
The Warriors maintained at least a double-digit cushion the rest of the game and cruised to the victory as four players finished in double-figures scoring led by Starr with 17 while Josh Toland pumped in 16, Lane Starr added 14 off the bench and Zach Roe finished with 10.
The Warriors outscored the hosts in every quarter, including a 20-15 effort in the second, a 24-18 cushion in the third and 15-8 in the final frame.
“If we can play 32 minutes like we played the first four minutes tonight, we are going to be good team,” said Barnesville mentor Chris Pack, “but we have to eliminate the stretches where we give up points and make our own easy shots while they miss some of the difficult shots they put in the basket. If we can do that, we will be right there.
“Trail is probably the best team on our schedule but it we want a shot at a team the caliber of Trail, we can’t make mistakes,” the Shamrocks’ coach continued. “Nobody wants to lose by 26 points, but I am super proud of our effort tonight and where we are at right now. I am a lot more confident about our abilities.”
In addition to his 16 points, Toland finished with 16 rebounds for a double-double and he also chipped in four steals and two assists.
“That was a heck of an effort by Josh (Toland) tonight. He played a really good game,” said Gray. “How ever you choose to do it, you have to score in the paint. If he can give us that kind of effort every night, it’s going to make things a lot easier for us.”
Starr’s back-to-back tree-point bombs were just the catalyst Trail needed as the buckets at the 3:34 mark and 2:55 mark of the first quarter knotted the score at 9-9 The long-range goals also started a 15-1 run to close the quarter that included field goals by Lane Starr, CJ Beaver, Toland and Tyler Starr who also added a free throw.
Trail opened the second quarter with a 12-2 run on a bucket by Caleb Gray, a “trey” by Roe, a three-point play by Toland and a three-point bomb followed by a charity toss by Lane Starr. Zach Houston, who finished with a game-high 18 points, scored the lone field goal for Barnesville during the run.
The ‘Rocks cut the deficit to 30-19 with a seven-point run on a free throw by Brandon Burkhart, two buckets by Houston and a field goal from Brian Clark en route to a 16-point effort.
That was as close as the Shamrocks would get, however, as Trail closed the quarter with a 6-4 run for a 38-25 cushion at the half.
The Warriors opened the second half with back-to-back buckets by Roe and cruised to a 56-40 lead after three quarters of play.
The visitors then outscored the Shamrocks 8-0 to start the fourth quarter and never looked back.
Austin Evans paced Trail in the final quarter, converting all three field goal attempts including a trey, to finish with seven points while Beaver added four of his seven points. The Shamrocks scored just eight points in the frame, converting just 3-of-15 field goal attempts.
For the game, Trail converted 28-of-52 field goal attempts (54 percent) and 16-of-25 attempts (64 percent) at the free throw line. The Warriors were 5-of-13 from three-point range.
Barnesville finished the night 18-of-55 field goal attempts (33 percent) and 14-of-21 attempts (67 percent) at the charity stripe.
Trail dominated the boards, outrebounding Barnesville 40-28 behind Toland’s effort. Beaver and Gray added four boards apiece for the Warriors while the Shamrocks were led by Dylan MacMillan with eight caroms and five by Clark.
MacMillan also finished with 10 points for the ‘Rocks.
The Warriors tallied 13 assists led by Beaver’s five and 15 steals paced by four apiece from Roe and Toland.
Barnesville dished out six helpers led by MacMillan with three and recorded 10 swipes paced by Clark’s five.