MANCHESTER – With one week to prepare for the team’s regular-season opener against Blanchester at Wilmington College, the Eastern Brown Warriors boys’ basketball squad squared off against North Adams in the opening game of the Southern Hills Athletic Conference preview last Friday at Manchester High School.
The Warriors jumped out in front 9-6 with less than two minutes left in the first quarter thanks to a three-point shot from senior Nick Kelch. Marcus Day chipped in four points in the first quarter for the Warriors, who led 12-6 at the end of the frame.
North Adams made a run in the second quarter. Trey Meade, scoreless in the first quarter, exploded for seven points on a pair of field goals and three free throws to help his team cut the Warriors’ lead down to one at 20-19 with 1:37 remaining.
Junior Blake Rigdon entered the game at that point for the Warriors and scored a quick four points, putting the game away for Eastern.
The effort was good for the second-highest total on the team behind Kelch. Seven different Warriors scored for head coach Rob Beucler, although the balance is not surprising, given the makeup of the Warriors’ roster. The team has six returning seniors, all of whom can provide valuable leadership for Eastern.
“We’ve got a good bunch of seniors,” Beucler said. “They’re working hard. We’ve got to look at what our strengths are and what our weaknesses are and go from there. We’ve got some young kids that are going to fill in and they did a good job tonight so I was pleased with their play.”
Those young kids are going to be expected to grow up fast, according to Beucler.
“By Christmas, they ought to be a sophomore if they’re a freshman,” Beucler said.
The team faced off against a North Adams squad that boasts three players, Brandon Gingerich, Trey Meade and Cole Meade, who are over 6’4” tall. When all three players hit the court at the same time for the Devils, it creates match-up headaches for every team in the SHAC, Eastern included.
“They’ll play all three at one time,” Beucler said. “We have trouble matching up with their size.”
The lack of height means the Warriors will spend a good chunk of their time around the three-point line, but by no means will they stay there. Beucler says the team will continue to get points in the paint, regardless of how tall their opponent is.
“We’re going to be a perimeter oriented team but we also want to be able to attack the basket,” Beucler said. “I told them they couldn’t live on the perimeter and they did a nice job tonight. They shot it well, but that’s where the defense has to come in.”
Eastern officially tips off the 2015-2016 regular season Saturday, November 28. The Warriors travel to Wilmington College to take on the Blanchester Wildcats in the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic at 2:45 p.m. Eastern’s first home contest of the season is December 15 against Lynchburg.