DANVILLE — The Loudonville High School boys basketball team beat up on the Danville High School team Friday night in Mid-Buckeye Conference play. Loudonville used a tremendous run in the second half to trounce the Blue Devils, 56-36.
“We have a couple of guys hurt and a couple of guys sick,” said Loudonville head coach Brandon Grimes. “We were planning on using a couple of jayvee guys tonight during the varsity game. This game is really a testament to these guys stepping up and playing their role. The guys worked their butts off, played hard and all contributed, doing exactly what we asked them to do. It was a great team win.”
The first quarter was close as both teams kept the scoring to a minimum. Danville got out to an early 4-0 lead, but the Redbirds pecked back and took the first quarter, 10-8. All eight of Danville’s first-quarter points came from post player Garrett Blue.
In the second quarter, Loudonville found a way to stop Blue, and began to build a lead. The Redbirds outscored the Blue Devils, 13-8, in the quarter and took a 23-16 lead into the halftime break.
When the teams came out for the second half, a different Loudonville squad came on the floor. The Redbirds came out with all cylinders firing and went on an 18-4 run, taking control of the game. The team kept it up for the fourth quarter and soundly defeated the Blue Devils.
“In the third quarter, our defense really stepped it up to a different level,” Grimes said. “I don’t know if I have ever seen us have that kind of intensity and effort. An 18-4 third quarter kind of puts the game away a little bit, and I can’t say enough about the way everyone contributed.”
Key to the Loudonville win was shutting down the MBC points leader, Danville’s Rhett Harris. Harris is averaging nearly 19 points a game, but the Redbirds held him to a season-low five points.
“We obviously wanted to keep the ball out of Harris’ hands as much as possible,” said Grimes. “He is a nice player that could have hurt us in a lot of different ways and we didn’t want that to happen. Our guys like to rise to the challenge. They like to face the top competition whether it be a player or a team.
“Our defense causes a lot of chaos for a lot of teams,” Grimes continued. “It’s hard for teams to run their offense against our defense because we are scrambling a lot. We try and teach our kids to come out and work every single game.”
The win keeps Loudonville within a game of Mid-Buckeye Conference leader Centerburg.
“It’s still early and I don’t want our guys losing focus on what we are trying to stress, taking it one game at a time,” said Grimes. “You can’t win the league in one single game; it’s a long season and we want to stay focused. We want our guys to remember that just because they won a big game, don’t hurt your arm patting yourself on the back, because we still have a lot of work to do.”
Loudonville was led by Dakota Zickefoose and Kyle Nickles, both of whom had 13 points. Tyler Mowery added nine points. The Blue Devils had only one player in double figures, as Blue finished the game with 10 points.
Loudonville’s next game sees the Redbirds traveling to Smithville for a nonconference game Tuesday night. Danville will host Fredericktown on Friday night.
In junior varsity play, Danville defeated Loudonville, 46-34. The Blue Devils got 16 points from Sam Armstrong, and Quinton Ferenbaugh chipped in 11 points. Loudonville was led by Matt Gwin, who scored 11 points, and Cody Debo, who scored seven points.