Glendale High School boys’ basketball coach Sean Williamson has said he’s been looking for offense all season.
But, at least for one game on Friday night, junior Cameron Maes provided big-time production at crucial times to earn a city victory.
Maes scored 23 points, answering several Central runs in the second half, as Glendale earned a 60-52 home victory over the Bulldogs.
“This is going to help so that other people realize that we’re not bad and that we’re going to kind of surprise people,” Maes said. “And that we’ve worked hard to get there.”
Glendale (3-5) led the entire first half, but Central finished the second quarter with a 9-2 run largely on the back of 6-foot-1 forward Isaiah Holyfield. The sophomore backed his way to three baskets late in the quarter to provide a spark and cut the Glendale lead to 25-23 at the break.
The Bulldogs (1-6) took three brief leads in the third quarter, but each time, Maes scored points to retake the lead: A 3-pointer, then a baseline drive, then two free throws to close the quarter.
Maes then scored the first four points of the fourth period as a 6-0 Glendale run gave the Falcons the lead for good.
“Cameron is definitely a player who can score baskets,” Williamson said. “He’s struggled a little bit this year with turning it over, but he seems to come up with the right play at the right time.”
This win was big for the Falcons, who have struggled out of the gate after losing pretty much all of their experience from last year’s varsity team, which won the Ozark Conference.
“We just had to take care of the ball, and get what we want,” Williamson said. “We’re still trying to figure out how to play on offense. We have a lot of guys who are still trying to figure it out and haven’t played together a lot.”
Central coach Armando Johnson said it came down to little things for his Bulldogs.
“We had a couple of non-boxouts there and they killed us,” Johnson said. “We ran a play for a kid to shoot the 3, and he didn’t shoot the 3. If he hits that, we’d be in here having a different conversation.
“Our kids just have not bought into being focused for an extended amount of time. When we start doing that, I think we’ll be a better ballclub.”
Sophomore guard D’Angelo Bedell scored 15 points to lead a balanced Central attack.
Defensively, Johnson said the Bulldogs aren’t maintaining intensity.
“We’ve been playing defense good for about two passes, but after that,” Johnson said, “our guys are thinking the play should be over. Then, they stand up, lock their knees, and then they get caught standing. If they don’t correct that anytime soon, then we’ll have a long year.”
Glendale plays at 4 p.m. today against Blue Springs South in the Ozark Mountain Shootout at Branson High School.
“We’re definitely turning it around, and we have a lot of confidence in ourselves that we’re going to be able to persevere throughout the season,” Maes said. “And I think we’re going to surprise some people because we’re going to win a lot of our games.”
Added Williamson: “They need to enjoy winning. You have to embrace those, because it doesn’t happen all the time.”
Central at Bolivar on Tuesday, and Johnson said the program is looking forward to getting Landon Shelton eligible at semester’s end.
Shelton could be available to play in the Seymour Tournament, which begins during the holiday break.