COSHOCTON – Everyone in the Coshocton High School gymnasium Tuesday evening knew what Coshocton wanted to do on offense.
They were going to control the pace of the game and work through their almost 50 offensive sets. They did that almost to perfection on the way to a 58-28 victory against Licking Valley.
Panthers coach Todd Torbert said Coshocton’s offense looked to be in mid-season form.
That’s a credit to each of the Coshocton varsity players. With the exception of Conner Roahrig, they were coached by new varsity coach Jeremy Ady at the junior varsity level for years. Their familiarity with Ady’s offense showed as they tallied assists on 18 of their 21 made baskets on the night.
“I think we executed perfectly offensively tonight,” said Coshocton guard Ashton Jarvis, who finished with nine assists. “Our ball control was great, and that’s what led to our success.”
“We’ve got a good group of kids that like to share the ball, so that’s probably why we did have 18 assists tonight,” Ady said.
The gym was filled with energy before the game began. It was the season opener, and on top of that, it was Ady’s first career game as a varsity head coach. Coshocton didn’t hesitate out of the gates.
The team jumped out to a 11-0 lead with 3:11 to play in the first quarter before Licking Valley senior Noah Ourant got the Panthers on the board.
“I thought we were a little shell-shocked and tentative early in the game,” Torbert said. “(Coshocton) came out and were the aggressor, and to their credit, they knocked down a lot of shots in that first quarter that put us in a hole that we weren’t able to dig out of.”
That run changed more than just the score; it forced the Panthers to switch the defense they wanted to play against the offensive sets Coshocton runs.
“We were hoping to be able to run a little bit of zone to take away some of those sets, but we had to extend pressure,” Torbert said.
That pressure led to a few forced turnovers, but it wasn’t enough to get Coshocton out of rhythm in the first quarter.
In the second, the Redskins slowed themselves down, mainly at the free throw line, as they shot 7-13 in the quarter and 10-20 overall.
“Ten of 20 is unacceptable in my opinion, but there is always negatives in a game,” Ady said. “Our goal before the game was to shoot 75 to 80 percent tonight, and that’s partly my fault because it’s hard to get free throws in at practice as much as we practice offensive and defensive pressure.”
Torbert said he thought his team calmed down in the second quarter as they held Coshocton to just nine points and scored nine of their own.
“Unfortunately, if you don’t have four good quarters, it’s going to be tough to beat a team like them,” Torbert said.
After a slow second quarter, the Redskins came right out of the half on a 13-0 run, assisting on three of the four made field goals during the five-minute stretch.
“I didn’t know we started out that great, but I’ve always told the kids two or three minutes of the third quarter is where you either put the dagger in them or you let them come back and make it a game,” Ady said.
Torbert credited his team for the way they battled in the second half.
“The second half, we at least competed physically with them, but we had a horrible shooting night, and then they executed their stuff really well,” Torbert said
Coshocton will host Rosecrans on Friday, while the Panthers will travel to Briggs on Thursday.
Licking Valley 5-9-8-8 — 28
Coshocton 23-9-15-11 — 58
Licking Valley: 9-39 FG, 7-12 FT, 3-16 3pt. (Miller 2) 22 rebounds (Brechbill 5), 15 turnovers, 4 Assists (Ourant, Brechbill, Nethers, Shumaker 1), Steals 8 (Miller 2). Scoring: Miller 2 2-2 8, Brechbill 3 0-0 7; Nethers 1 3-3 5, Lopez 2 0-3 4, Ourant 1 0-0 2, Shumaker 0 2-4 2
Coshocton: 21-36 FG, 10-20 FT, 6-11 3pt. (Roahrig 3) 23 rebounds (Griffiths 7), 11 turnovers, 18 Assists (Jarvis 8), Steals 12 (Mason 4). Scoring: Mason 6 3-8 15; Roahrig 4 0-0 11, Kirkpatrick 2 2-4 8, Haas 4 0-0 8, Jarvis 2 2-2 7, Griffiths 2 2-4 6, Hardesty 1 1-2 3