basketball machine that the Toledo Libbey Cowboys are quickly becoming
but in the third quarter the Cowboys broke loose to demonstrate why
they are serious contenders for the Division II state title. After only
leading 25-17 at halftime, the Cowboys won going away 73-33 to push
their record to 11-1.
The third quarter was a clinic on how to play the trap defense. The Cowboys found every way possible to force the Eagles to turn the ball over. After doing an excellent job of taking care of the ball in the first half, the Eagles committed 17 turnovers, mostly during the 23-2 Libbey run in the third quarter, and, as a result, the Eagles took themselves completely out of the game.
“We picked up the defensive intensity in the third quarter,” said Libbey coach Leroy Bates. “As a result, we were able to get some easy baskets. Good defense leads to good offense.”
In the game’s early going, the Clay Eagles were able to keep the game at their pace. The Cowboys were double and triple teaming Clay’s big man, University of Toledo bound, Zac Taylor, which allowed the Eagles to score a couple of easy baskets on back-door plays. The Cowboys adjusted quickly to this, however, but did have trouble stopping Taylor inside as he scored 7 second quarter points. This fact, plus the Eagles’ guards ability to take care of the ball kept Clay within striking distance, 25-17, as the half came to a close.
Libbey’s William Buford and his teammates came out after the half with fire in their eyes and made sure that the Eagles knew that there was no chance of their leaving the building with a victory. The Cowboys scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter making the fourth quarter a mere formality.
Commenting on what happened in the third quarter, Clay coach Joe Guerrero stated:
“We just could not get the ball up the court. They (the Cowboys) just put too much pressure on the ball. Our guys struggled.”
Libbey coach Leroy Bates complimented the hard work of his players, their new dedication to playing defense, and their willingness to make adjustments.
“The third quarter has been ours all year. I feel we do a good job of adjusting to what the other team gives us and we did that again tonight. Our offense feeds off of our defense and once we pushed up our defense we began to get some easy baskets.”
Libbey’s victory keeps them in the driver’s seat for the Toledo City League’s number one seed in the league’s playoffs. Clay, however, is a team struggling to post a winning season. With their loss their record falls to 5-6.
The victorious Cowboys were led in scoring by William Buford with 18 but three other Cowboys, Brad Sandridge (11), Tony Brown (10) and Julius Wells (10) were also in double figures.
Zac Taylor led the Eagles with 9 points but scored only 2 in the second half.
“We’re getting there,” said coach Bates. “If we can continue to improve, we will be right in it.”