OLD WASHINGTON — It was bookend victories for the Buckeye Trail Warriors as they sent three seniors out on a winning note Wednesday completing the sweep of the Barnesville Shamrocks with a 64-41 win on Senior Night.
The two opened the season on November 30 with the Warriors posting a 77-51 win in Barnesville, Wednesday closed out the regular season with a make-up contest. It also marked the final time that seniors Zach Roe, CJ Beaver and Austin Evans will play on the home floor.
Despite the Warriors getting off to a sluggish start the opening half, it was enough as they jumped out to a 12-5 lead the initial quarter and led throughout adding a 12-6 scoring edge the second frame to take a 24-11 lead to the halftime break.
“You always like to see the seniors win one on Senior Night,” Buckeye Trail mentor Rod Gray said. “We were sluggish the first half, possibly due to all the festivities, but played well the second half. This was a good win to get ready for sectional tournament play.”
Coming out of the locker room in the third, Barnesville began to come alive a little, but the Warriors still managed a 19-13 scoring advantage to carry a commanding 43-24 lead to the final round.
“We spent too much time throwing it (the basketball) at the hoop instead of playing offense,” Barnesville coach Chris Pack admitted. “The offense didn’t show up. I think it was still someplace back around Hendrysburg. Defensively, we didn’t play that bad. That is not the way you want to end the regular season. We tried to get into a rotation to get clicking, but never got clicking.”
In the final frame, Gray was able to empty his bench and pull the seniors so they could get some additional recognition. Buckeye Trail kept the pedal down to out score the ’Rocks 21-17 to provide the 64-41 final.
“We played well the second half,” Gray stated. “The second half we stepped up defensively. We came out the third quarter and got steals by Zach (Roe) and CJ (Beaver), but didn’t convert the baskets. We were able to play a lot of people and it was good on Senior Night to be able to take the seniors out and have the crowd recognize them. They (Barnesville) have some nice young players that are coming along. Anderson played a nice game tonight.”
Barnesville (7-15) had trouble putting the ball in the basket hitting just 17-of-52 floor shots for 32.6 percent. Senior guard Jacob Anderson closed out his final regular season game finding his way down the lane numerous times for layup to finish as the Shamrocks’ scoring leader with 11 points.
“That was the worst shooting night and offense we have had all year,” Pack admitted. “Anderson has those nights that he gets to the hoop and attacks the basket.”
The Shamrocks tacked on just 6-of-13 from the foul line with Dylan MacMillan and David Stewart following Anderson with nine points each, while Brandon Burkhart chipped in with eight.
Barnesville enters sectional tournament play next Wednesday and Pack is hoping the offense shows up.
“Hopefully our offense will make it to the game,” he said. “It will come down to who wants to keep playing.”
Buckeye Trail (15-7) connected on 19-of-59 field shots for 32.2 percent and just 4-of-19 from three-point range, but added 22-of-28 from the charity stripe. Roe paced the Warriors with 19 points followed by Beaver with 14. Caleb Gray added eight, while Tyler Starr, Josh Toland and Tyler Doudna, off the bench in the fourth quarter, added five points each.
Rebounds were even at 44 apiece with Toland leading the Warriors with 14 boards with Gray adding nine and Roe five. MacMillan paced the ’Rocks with eight rebounds and Anderson added six. Brandon Burkhart, Stewart, sophomore Isaac McGee and Zach Houston each chipped in with five caroms.