Barnesville's pressure 'D' leads 63-46 victory over Buckeye Trail

Kevin Sutton
Barnesville Enterprise
Barnesville's Jeremy Hunkler (23) maneuvers his way around Buckeye Trail freshman Donovan Geiger (20) during boys hardwood action at Barnesville High School Tuesday evening.

BARNESVILLE — Two teams in need of a win for an early Christmas present hooked up Tuesday evening, with host Barnesville entering the night at 1-3 on the season, welcoming Buckeye Trail with a 1-4 mark.

Shaking off a sluggish start, the Shamrocks amped up their defensive pressure which propelled the hosts to a 63-46 victory over the visiting Warriors.

Buckeye Trail jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead in the early stages of the first period at the 5:56 mark with freshman Donovan Geiger netting three consecutive baskets forcing an early time-out from Barnesville first-year head man Johnny Hines.

At this point, Hines opted to shake things up and crank up the 'Rocks defensive intensity which paid quick dividends by forcing numerous turnovers from the Warriors.

"Anytime you get a win its a good thing, so we will take it," Hines offered. "We didn't execute things real well in the beginning and got off to a slow start which has kind of been the normal for us."

"But they gritted it out, got tough and we picked up the pressure on the defensive end," Hines added. "The full court pressure  kind of seemed to get our kids going, along with rattling them some also.So that worked out well for us."

Trail was forced to once again take the court without junior standout point guard Franko Rome, who currently is sidelined with an injury. The young Warriors struggled to handle the amped up 'Rocks defensive pressure and finished with eight first period miscues leading Barnesville to a 16-14 lead after one quarter.

Buckeye Trail's Garrett Burga (12) puts up two of his team-high 17 points over Barnesville's  Jeremy Hunkler (23) during Tuesday's 63-46 loss at Barnesville High School.

Things didn't get much better in the second stanza, as Trail continued to struggle with ball security with eight more turnovers with Barnesville posting a 21-10 scoring edge to extend its lead to 37-24 at the halftime break.

Junior Kason Powell caught fire in the second stanza to lead the way, putting up eight of his team-high total of 17 points including knocking down 2-of-3 triples to lead the 'Rocks' attack.

Junior Colton Hines chipped in with 15 points, and also sparked the defensive effort coming up with five steals. Freshman Asa Geillinger and sophomore Jeremy Hunkler each contributed eight points and sophomore Haiden Skinner added seven points off the bench for the winners.

Buckeye Trail head coach Drew Meister felt his squad was able to run a pretty effective half-court offense when they were able to get past Barnesville's full court pressure defense.

"When ever we were able to get into some offense in the half court I thought we were somewhat effective tonight," Meister stated. "But we just struggled against their pressure and got in too big a hole to dig out of tonight."

"They shot the ball pretty well in that second half and would not let us close the gap," Meister continued. "The difference was their harassing pressure defense at the point of attack just gave us too much trouble, so credit them. Just something we have to figure out in short order how to handle better."

A point of emphasis in the Warriors' half-court offense was to look inside for sophomore post man Garrett Burga who responded with a solid night's work inside the paint. Burga tallied 17 points along with pulling down 10 rebounds and handing out three assists.

Freshman Donovan Geiger continued his solid play for the Warriors (1-5) with 14 points, while junior Cannon Clum added six points and junior Isaac Beaver finished with five markers.

In the second half, Barnesville managed to maintain the upper-hand for the home court victory with a 26-22 scoring advantage to improve to 2-3 on the season.

Buckeye Trail picked up a 52-34 win in the JV match-up to improve to 4-1 with Brennan McComb leading the way with 12 points, followed by Donovan Geiger and Janson Alloway with nine points each and Jett Giesey with eight. Davis Hickenbottom paced the young 'Rocks with 14 points and Logan Dodd added 12 markers.

NEXT — Barnesville will host Bridgeport on Friday night on Senior Night, while Buckeye Trail returns to action on Tuesday with a road game at East Canton,