By Rob Kiser
Not that it came easy by any means, but the Russia boys continued their success in the Buckeye Insurance Group Holiday Classic Thursday at Garbry Gymnasium, opening Green Bracket play with a 65-45 win over Troy Christian to improve to 6-2 on the season.
Russia, looking for its fourth straight Classic title, will play the Covingtofor the tournament title at 7 p.m. Friday, while Troy Christian will play Lehman Catholic at 4 p.m. Friday.
“More than anything, I think our kids look forward to getting on this floor (where Russia plays the sectional tournament) two times,” Russia coach Spencer Cordonnier said. “We don’t play in a lot of venues like this where it is pretty open. It gives you a little different shooting background and it always good to get on this floor.”
And Cordonnier expected a challenge Thursday.
“It is kind of hard to simulate all the trapping and things they (Troy Christian) do in practice,” Cordonnier said.”We probably had a few turnovers early caused by that, but you have to expect that.”
After getting down 4-0 early, Russia quickly turned the tide.
After two baskets by Daniel Kearns, Jack Dapore hit two threes and Ethan Monnier added one, with Cole Tebbe and Drew Sherman getting open for easy baskets to make it 17-7 late in the first quarter.
“We talk all the time about getting it to the open man,” Cordonnier said. “Find the open man and we did that. There isn’t anybody who doesn’t have the green light to shoot if they are open.”
Russia led 30-16 at halftime and got off to a fast start in the second half.
Dylan Cordonnier scored the final basket of the opening half, the first basket of the second half, then had an assist on length of the court pass to Hunter Cohee, who had given Russia a spark off the bench in the first half.
After a Peyton Spurlock basket, Sherman drilled a three to make it 37-18.
But, Troy Christian didn’t go away.
With Russia leading 41-21, the Eagles scored seven quick points to make it 41-28 late in the third quarter.
“They (Troy Christian) had that 7-0 flurry,” Cordonnier said. “I told my coaches, they have the ability to score a lot of points in a hurry.”
But, that was as close as the Eagles would get.
Russia expanded the lead to 50-33 by the end of the quarter and Troy Christian couldn’t put any dent in it during the fourth quarter.
“They (Troy Christian) played hard to the end and we knew they would,” Cordonnier said.
Dapore led a balanced Russia attack with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Cordonnier had 10, Tebbed added nine and Cohee scored eight.
Troy Christian’s 6-foot-9 junior post James Anderson led the Eagles with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Spurlock added 10 points.
Russia was 24 of 42 from the floor for 57 percent and 10 for 18 from the line for 55 percent, while Troy Christian was 19 of 53 from the floor for 36 percent and just three of nine from the line for 33 percent.
Troy Christian won the battle of the boards 29-21, but had 17 turnovers to Russia’s 13.
Russia improved to 6-2 in what they hope will be a prelude to what happens when they return to Garbry Gymnasium — both Friday and in the postseason.
Troy Christian (45)
James Anderson 7-1-15, Ben Schenk 3-1-7, Seth Wynne 0-0-0, Peyton Spurlock 4-1-10, Jacob Brown 0-0-0, Cameron Strine 1-0-2, Colt Tanner 0-0-0, Connor Case 2-0-6, Hayden Hartman 0-0-0, Joel Thomas 0-0-0, Trent Huelskamp 0-0-0, Jackson Kremer 2-0-5, Sam Kirkpatrick 0-0-0. Totals: 19-3-45.
Dylan Cordonnier 4-1-10, Drew Sherman 2-2-7, Drew Poling 2-1-5, Cole Tebbe 4-1-9, Jack Dapore 4-1-12, Daniel Kearns 3-0-6, Ethan Monnier 2-0-6, Hunter Cohee 2-4-8, Sam Cook 1-0-2, Dion Puthoff 0-0-0, Evan Monnier 0-0-0, Carter Stueve 0-0-0. Totals: 24-10-65.
3-point field goals — Troy Christian: Spurlock, Case (2), Kremer. Russia: Cordonnier, Sherman, Dapore (3), Ethan Monnier (2).
Score By Quarters
Troy Christian 9 16 33 45
Russia 17 30 50 65
Records: Russia 6-2.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.