Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
FRANKFORT — When Logan Bennett and Preston Sykes start seeing the ball go in the hole, Adena becomes even more dangerous than it already is.
The last thing opponents want to see is the Warriors pick up a shot of confidence.
However, in the second half of Saturday’s win, that’s exactly what happened.
Sykes started knocking down shots, Bennett quietly stayed consistent, and their teammates fed off the energy en route to a 59-41 victory over Piketon.
“We just moved the ball really well in the second half. In the first half, we were just kind of stagnant and didn’t have a flow,” Sykes said. “But once [Bennett] got going, he opens things up for everybody else. He’s obviously the best player on our team. He’s a real big goof but we’re all tight and we’ve all been playing together since we were young. When he’s in a groove, it opens up a lot of things.”
Sykes’ efforts were just as important in pulling away, although he may never admit that.
With Adena leading 32-29 around the four-minute mark in the third, Sykes nailed back-to-back 3’s to give the Warriors (10-5, 7-2 SVC) a 38-29 edge. From there, the rout was on.
“Piketon is a really good defensive team. They’re sound and they’re fundamental,” Sykes said. “The last two nights, I really couldn’t get much going. In the first half tonight, I was in foul trouble. But I just saw the ball go in the hole one time and it just got me going. I was feeling it after that.”
The Redstreaks (8-8, 5-4 SVC) hung right with Adena throughout the first half.
Led by Chris Chandler and Shane Leedy, Piketon had a 15-12 lead after the first quarter and ended the sequence on a 10-2 run. In the second, they led 21-17 before Bennett and Dillon McDonald hit back-to-back triples, putting the Warriors ahead 23-21.
After Adena took a 25-23 lead into the break, Sykes gave them the aforementioned 38-29 advantage with 2:42 remaining in the third. Piketon’s Tyler Gullion later whittled the lead to six at 41-35. But that’s when Sykes hit his final deep ball of the game, making it 44-35 and paving the way for a game-ending 15-6 run.
Up 44-38, Bennett nailed a triple before McDonald was awarded a bucket and a foul, making it 50-38. Then, with 3:01 left in regulation, Bennett provided the dagger with another 3-ball, pushing the lead to 55-40 and proverbially sealing the deal.
“Defense and moving the ball,” McDonald said. “Those are the keys. Nate [Throckmorton] got dribble-penetration, kicking out to us, that’s what worked. You have to find a way to score and a way to win. If you score more than them, you win. It’s that simple.”
Bennett led all scorers with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists while Sykes added 11 points, four rebounds and two assists. McDonald finished with 10 points and Throckmorton had four points, four rebounds and four assists.
Chandler led Piketon with 14 points, four boards and two assists while Leedy had 12 points. Gullion ended the night with six points and three rebounds.
“It was just executing, getting guys in the right spots at the right times and trusting our offense,” Bennett said.
Adena is back in action Tuesday night, traveling to East Clinton, while Piketon attempts to bounce back at Unioto on Friday.
Piketon: 15-8-10-8 — 41
Adena: 12-13-16-18 — 59
Piketon: 17-44 FG, 4-8 FT, 3-12 3 pt., 22 rebounds (Fuller 5), 13 turnovers, 5 assists (Chandler 2). Scoring: Chandler 14, Leedy 12, Gullion 6, Swayne 4, Fuller 3, Harris 2.
Adena: 23-50 FG, 3-5 FT, 10-19 3 pt., 25 rebounds (Bennett 7), 8 turnovers, 15 assists (Bennett 4, Throckmorton 4). Scoring: Bennett 21, Sykes 11, McDonald 10, Shipley 9, Throckmorton 4, Garrison 2, McKee 2.