Perfection is hard to achieve during any stretch
of the game of basketball, except if you are the Canal Winchester
Indians. Canal Winchester made all 13 shots it attempted from the field
in the third quarter, including nailing seven triples, to break free of
a tight game and beat the visiting Licking Valley Panthers 80-56
CANAL WINCHESTER – Perfection is hard to achieve during any stretch of the game of basketball, except if you are the Canal Winchester Indians.
Canal Winchester made all 13 shots it attempted from the field in the third quarter, including nailing seven triples, to break free of a tight game and beat the visiting Licking Valley Panthers 80-56 Saturday evening.
“I told our team it is rare you’ll ever see a shooting performance like the one Canal Winchester had in the third quarter,” Licking Valley coach Tim Dierks said. “There is not a lot you can do about that.
“We did give them some open looks, because we were trying to double and triple B.J. Mullens at times to limit his touches. They were hitting everything.”
Re’mon Nelson was responsible for a lot of the Canal Winchester damage during the third period, connecting on 20 of his game-high 29 points.
“My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball and I was left open,” Nelson said. “I just so happened to be making a lot of shots tonight.
“Coach (Kent) Riggs told us to keep moving the ball with them doubling down B.J. and find the open shooter. That was the difference for us in the second half.”
Mullens added 19 points for the Indians and Darian Cartharn contributed 11 points.
Grabbing the win over Licking Valley allowed Canal Winchester to work out the frustration of its Thursday road loss to Newark, according to Nelson.
“This win feels good. We had a chip on our shoulder after the loss and we wanted to get things right,” he said.
The final score doesn’t show how close this interdivision Mid-State League game was in the first half. Licking Valley (3-5) actually led 21-16 after the end of the first quarter, thanks in part to nine points from Ryan Dierks.
“We felt we had an effective game plan coming into this,” coach Dierks said. “Obviously you have to pay a lot of attention to B.J. Mullens and Re’mon Nelson. We wanted to take away his (Mullens’) inside presence, shade their shooters and try to make them beat us outside.
“In the first half it was effective. We also wanted to push the ball in transition to make the big man run. We executed in the first half pretty well.”
Canal Winchester (8-1) rebounded in the second quarter and took a 31-26 scoring advantage into the locker room.
Then came the decisive third quarter where Nelson drained six triples. Cartharn and Mullens both contributed five points during the frame, and Anthony Riggs had four assists.
Licking Valley scored just five points in the first five minutes of the second half and trailed 63-38 at the end of the third quarter.
“When you’re making just about every shot in the quarter, it makes the game look a lot easier,” Canal Winchester coach Kent Riggs said. “They’re a good team and they shot the ball well in the first quarter. We had to get out in front of them better defensively.”
Ryan Dierks led Licking Valley with 21 points, Darren Athey had 10, Matt Bates eight and Nick Phillips chalked up seven points.
Both schools return to their respective MSL divisions next weekend. Canal Winchester travels to rival Bloom-Carroll in a Buckeye Division rivalry. Licking Valley returns home to face Ohio Division rival Granville.
The break allows Licking Valley, which was the Division III state football runner-up, a whole week of practice to work.
“This will be the first time since we got our football kids that we’ll have a week of practice,” coach Dierks said. “We’re looking forward to fixing some things are broken and work on fundamentals.
“As a coach, this has been my most difficult year of coaching. There are so many things you have to do at once. You have to get your football players into shape, get them to understand the system and play games at the same time. That is hard to do with the time frame.”