John Bruce, Contributor
CHILLICOTHE — In a matchup between two of the top ranked teams in Ohio, the Chillicothe Cavaliers made an emphatic statement that they are indeed for real.
The No. 6 ranked team in Division I, Chillicothe, dominated the No. 3 ranked team in Division II, Fairfield Union, for a 61-39 win at Hatton Gymnasium on Tuesday evening.
The Falcons (12-1), playing without starting junior guard Ryan Magill, tried to play a deliberate pace on the offensive end, while still utilizing seniors Huston Harrah and Chase Poston to get their scoring going.
The Cavaliers (12-1) responded with a great defensive game plan that featured Jayvon Maughmer being used to negate Poston.
“Our main focus was [Poston], how were we going to defend him. I thought Jayvon did a tremendous job,” Chillicothe coach Eric Huffer said about his defense. “Hats off to Jayvon, and our guys did a tremendous job at defending him off of all the screens he runs off of. We play a lot of man-to-man, but it truly is a team defense.”
While Maughmer was hounding the outstanding Poston, Tre Beard and Vincent Roper were playing fantastic help side defense, which led to back-to-back steals and scores on the opposite end. The second of those finished as Beard threw a beautiful alley-oop to Brandon Noel for a thunderous jam to extend the Cavaliers early lead to 11-4.
Although it appeared the Cavs would win going away, the Falcons’ Charlie Bean did all that he could to keep the red and black in the game. Bean, who came off the bench, was able to notch seven quick points for the Falcons, getting them as close as 23-17 halfway through the second quarter.
That’s when junior Kam Smith really started to make his impact for the Cavaliers. The junior guard hit two 3’s in the first half, which helped extend the Cavs’ lead to double figures near the end of the half.
“I thought Kam Smith came in and did a great job tonight,” Huffer said. “He hit four 3’s, really opened up the floor, made them come out and guard him, which made it easier for Jayvon, Brandon, and Tre to drive.”
With a 10-point lead and the floor open, Beard took great advantage with two buckets in the final minute of the half, including a gorgeous floater in the lane near the buzzer to put the Cavs ahead 34-20 at the half.
The second half continued to be much of the same as the first, with Smith knocking down two more 3’s and Brandon Noel dominating the interior with great post moves.
Noel finished with a game-high 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Smith added 14 points. Beard finished with 11 points, while Maughmer had an outstanding all-around game with 10 points, five rebounds, and five assists, all while holding Poston scoreless on the night. Roper ended with eight points and four assists, but Huffer was very high to praise him following the win.
“Vinny is the best defender that I’ve ever coached. He’s got a lot of pit bull in him, just a heckuva competitor. What makes him special is just the type of kid he is. He comes in every day and puts in the extra work. He moves better without the ball this year, which helps the offense as well. He’s an excellent defender, but an even better person.”
The Falcons were led by Bean with 15 points and five rebounds, while Harrah finished with 11 points.
Chillicothe — 26-49 FG, 6-20 3’s (Smith 4), 3-3 FT, 32 rebounds, 15 assists, 6 steals, 8 turnovers
Fairfield Union — 16-43 FG, 2-10 3’s (Harrah, Bean), 5-6 FT, 18 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 11 turnovers
Chillicothe — Noel 16, Smith 14, Beard 11, Maughmer 10, Roper 8, Taylor 2
Fairfield Union — Bean 15, Harrah 11, Moll 7, Bernard 4, Dennis 2
Chillicothe – 16-13-14-13 — 61
Fairfield Union – 9-11-11-8 — 39