Toronto’s big run downs Wildcats

RICHMOND – Keyed by a 38-12 run, the Toronto boys’ basketball team was able to rally from a three-point deficit in the first quarter and run past the Wildcats, 80-52, Tuesday night on the road.

The boys from the Gem City were able to get to the basket at will against the Wildcats all night long.

“We ran a drill the other day – it was the Tennessee shooting drill – where we shot all 3-pointers, because that is part of the drill,” Toronto (11-4) head coach John Leary said. “You have to make a certain number of shots in two minutes. It took us three times to make enough shots, and afterward I told them that is why I don’t like them shooting 3s, because we are not very good shooting 3s. We made some 3-pointers tonight. 3-pointers are OK if they are in the flow of the offense.

“We want to get easy shots, and we are capable of getting easy shots. We are very athletic, so we can get easy shots.

“I told them before the game that the key to the game was going to be rebounding. We had to rebound and play defense, and when we rebound and play defense that is our best offense. Tonight, rebounding and defense was our best offense.

“I am proud of the kids. We challenged the kids. This is my fifth year here, and every year we would beat Edison at home, and they would beat us at home. We split with them every year. Coming into this year, we had not won at Steubenville Central, and we did that, and we had not won out here and we did that. I told them we are very close to the goals we set.

“This was a big points game for us, and this is a big-points week for us. We played Edison tonight, and then we have got Beaver Local Friday night and then Bridgeport on Saturday. We are in second place in the OVAC. We control our own destiny.

“I am pleased with how we played tonight. It is the exact opposite of a week ago. Against Steubenville Central we were dead. We had no life. It was the extreme opposite tonight.

“Tonight, we played with energy and life.

“Edison is a good team.”

The Wildcats could not slow down the Red Knights, who scored at least 16 points in each quarter.

“Give Toronto credit,” Edison (6-11) head coach Nate Moses said. “They had balanced scoring. They got a lot of contributions. They shot the ball well, and they shot the ball well from the line.”

Blaine Rawson netted a game-high 20 points to lead the way the victors. Blaze Glenn tallied 17 points, Ty West collected 14 points and Nathan Karaffa finished with 11 points.

Joe Nave ended up with a team-high 18 points for the Wildcats, while Josh Woika contributed 14 points and Zach Kramarich chipped in with 11 points.

Edison delivered the first four points of the game, and later a basket by Kramarich gave the Wildcats a 12-9, but that was the last time the hosts had a lead.

First, Karaffa drained a 3-pointer to tie the score in what turned out to be the first basket in a 38-12 surge which saw Toronto take a 47-24 lead in the third quarter.

“We came out early on with good intensity,” Moses said. “Our unwillingness to play defense for a full four quarters hurt us, and it has hurt us the last few games.”

Toronto broke the game open, ending the first half on a 19-8 spurt to build a 39-24 advantage at halftime.

“We got into some foul trouble early,” Leary said. “Blaze picked up a couple of quick fouls. We took him out at the end of the first quarter, and then we took him out at the end of the second quarter because we didn’t want him to pick up another foul.

“We kept playing our game with him on the bench. Blaine came in and gave us good minutes, Hank (Clegg) gave us good minutes, Riley gave us good minutes and Sante Carducci gave us good minutes.

“Everybody contributed tonight. Contributing is not always about scoring points. Sometimes it is about contributing solid minutes. Tonight, we got solid minutes from everybody. It was a team win.”

The Red Knights recorded the first eight points of the third quarter to build a 23-point advantage.

“We preach maturity and composure,” Leary said. “It is a long season, and we are taking some steps forward. We are also regressing a little bit. There two or three times where we got the lead up to 24 or 25 points, and they would cut it down to 19 or 18, because we lost track of their shooters.

“Nave is a good shooter. (Hunter) Talkington is a good shooter. We got comfortable, and lost track of their shooters. Nave hit some shots for them. They are both good players.

“I thought the key to the game was that we rebounded well after the first quarter, and that led to our offense.

“I have seen some nights where Nave is on and other nights were Talkington is on. When they are both on, they are much more difficult to stop. They are both good shooters.”‘

Edison has lost three in a row and five of six.

“We did score tonight,” Moses said. “We only scored 37 against Indian Creek. We scored the ball, but we have to be willing to play on both ends of the floor, and we are not able to do that right now.

“We have to play with more consistency. We have not been consistent the last few games, and that has hurt us.

“We started in a 1-3-1. I liked our defense early on, but then we lost them in transition. Once we got behind, we had to go man, and we had to press and take chances. Our man-to-man defense is not where it needs to be right now.

“They are in the top four in the OVAC. I wish them the best of luck. Coach Leary does a good job with them.”

Toronto welcomes Beaver Local Friday and visits Bridgeport Saturday with a 1 p.m. JV tip.

Edison takes on Union Local at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the Buckeye 8 Tournament at Buckeye Local.