Buchtel brought strong defensive pressure and played well in stretches to beat Ellet 76-51 at home Tuesday night.
The Griffins (2-0, 2-0 City Series) forced 12 turnovers in the first half, bolted to a 21-6 lead and led by at least double digits the rest of the game. Still, coach Steve White wasn’t entirely pleased with the team’s performance. Buchtel quickly racked up 10 fouls and played most of the first half with Ellet in the double-bonus despite the sizeable lead. And while turnovers were forced, many of the chances in transition ended up not costing the Orangemen.
“I thought our press went well but we’d get a steal and then just turn the basketball over or miss a layup,” White said. “We didn’t play bad, just a little sloppy. We might have taken them for granted. We played good in spurts.”
While often playing a full-court press that gave Ellet fits, Buchtel became aggressive and fouled very early in Ellet’s possession. White says the Griffins are trying to become smoother in how they attack, and hopes the defense can slow down a bit.
“There was a lot of reaching, unnecessary reaching,” he said. “We’re trying to get a little smoother in certain situations, our pressure defense, and even though you’re playing full court and playing all-out pressure you still gotta take your time. So, pleased but not pleased.”
Sophomore forward Deric Rucker led all scorers with 18 points, including 12 in the first half as Buchtel built its lead. Half of the points came off offensive rebounds.
“I think Rucker’s a special kid,” White said. “He’s good in football and basketball. If he gets taller [6-foot-2] there’s no telling how far he can go. He rebounded well, had a lot of energy and did a good job.”
After Rucker, Buchtel had six players score at least seven points, led by junior Jeff White (nine points), senior Demonte Hicks (nine), senior Tyler Jones (eight), senior Jalen Ruffin (eight), senior Elijah Bell (seven) and senior Erron Cosey (seven).
For Ellet, Tuesday night became another learning experience as a young Orangemen team dealt with a talented and explosive Buchtel defense.
Junior Jacob Williams scored a team-high 13 points and senior Christian Bolling and sophomore Jae’Vontae Ray each contributed nine points.
Ellet coach Mark Fisher says the opportunities are there, the Orangemen just haven’t been able to take advantage.
“We’re young and we’re trying to play faster with the City coming up,” he said. “We gotta work on finishing and making baskets. We’re getting there and missing a lot of shots, missing our foul shots. We gotta go work on that. And being young, you come into a place [Buchtel] that can play defense and hustle and all that they have, and we got a little bit rushed.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.