Mix intensity with Granville’s size and athleticism, and you have the recipe for an unbeaten start.
The Blue Aces overpowered host Licking Valley with all three, plus some perimeter shooting and depth for good measure, in a 70-42 Mid-State League-Ohio Division win Saturday night at Dick Torbert Gymnasium.
“They’re very talented and deep, and they’re so physical and big, we got nothing in the paint against them,” Valley coach Todd Torbert said. “And they shot well when they did kick it out.”
“Valley plays so hard and determined, we talked about having to match their intensity; they don’t quit,” first-year Granville coach Adam Teeters said. “Our defense played well. There were a few times on offense where we went one pass, one shot, but when we’re patient with it, we can be pretty good.”
As they have thus far, the Blue Aces’ defense set the tone, forcing 12 first-half turnovers with a variety of three-quarter’s court and half-court traps.
Athletic, 6-foot-6 Ethan Schmidt scored seven first-quarter points with a pair of steals as Granville (5-0, 3-0) eased ahead 18-9. Guards David Fraley and Hunter Orth hit second-quarter 3-pointers from the baseline and Schmidt added a three-point play as the Blue Aces, limiting the Panthers (0-8, 0-4) to just 17 shots during the first two quarters, led 38-18. They never looked back.
“This was our first game in eight days, and we hadn’t practiced the last two days, so I was a little concerned we might be a little rusty,” Teeters said. “But we had a shoot-around today and the kids came out ready to play.”
“We want to play the whole 32 minutes,” said Fraley, who had 10 points and two 3-pointers in less than three quarters. “Each game is an opportunity to get better. You either get better or you get worse each game.”
Schmidt scored 12 first-half points and finished with 14 to go with three steals and 10 rebounds as much-taller Granville dominated the boards 35-18 and shot a solid 49 percent from the field. Orth added 10 points with a pair of 3-pointers, 6-5 Jack Parsley contributed nine points and five rebounds, Austin Rush had eight points and Brock Hill chipped in with four assists. Eleven Blue Aces cracked the scorebook.
“As deep as we are, it keeps us fresh,” Schmidt said. “We enjoy the up tempo, and I worked in the offseason at getting stronger down low.”
Scott Morris hit four 3-pointers and scored 17 points to lead Valley, just 16 of 47 from the field for 34 percent with seven of its field goals on 3s. Brandon Pickenpaugh added nine points and Chris Flanagan eight along with three steals.
“We’re just so sluggish out of the gate; we get down 20 and have to battle from behind, and you can’t do that against good teams,” Torbert said. “We found our shot against Whitehall for a stretch, but we’re still just too inconsistent offensively.”