Buchtel boys basketball coach Matt Futch continues to encourage his players to share the ball on offense and play with a tenacious effort on defense.
His players are listening.
“We continue to play hard as a team,” freshman Chris Livingston said after leading host Buchtel to an 83-60 victory on Friday night. “We outplayed them during the course of the game and we didn’t run out of gas.”
Livingston scored 25 points and had 10 rebounds and three assists.
Sophomores Ronnell Perie II (14 points and three assists) and Noah Peeples (12 points, two steals) also reached double figures for Buchtel (8-4, 6-0).
“We stayed together, played hard, ran our stuff and listened to what our coaches were telling us,” Perie said. “We also moved the ball well.”
Junior Billie Johnson paced East with 17 points and seven rebounds, and junior Deshawn Jones contributed 12 points, six rebounds and four steals.
East (6-5, 3-3) held a 17-16 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Buchtel stormed back with an 18-4 run to start the second quarter. Perie made a layup and a 3-pointer during the early portion of the surge, and then Livingston got rolling with a jumper, a nifty pass to Peeples for a layup and a 3-pointer to push the lead to 34-21 with 3:17 on the clock.
“We did a really good job of paying attention to the details,” Futch said. “We have been harping on our guys all year to move the ball. That has been a challenge of ours and we have been working on that. We made some progress in that category. I think we will bottle that up and see if we can do that for the remainder of the season.”
Livingston threw down a slam dunk during the final two minutes of the second quarter as Buchtel was on its way to a 42-29 advantage at halftime.
The Griffins stretched their lead to 58-43 at the end of three quarters and to 72-48 midway through the fourth quarter on a slam dunk by senior Jonathan King.
King finished with eight points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Buchtel senior Anthony Hunt Jr. contributed six points and six rebounds, and freshman Cordel Livingston scored five points.
“We did a really good job of pushing the ball in transition, executing some of our offensive sets and defensively we caused some havoc in the half-court and in the full-court,” Futch said.
Buchtel’s win Friday followed a 72-61 victory over Ellet on Tuesday in which Chris Livingston (24 points), King (19 points) and Perie (15 points) reached double figures.
The Dragons also received solid efforts Friday from junior Marlon Lee (12 points), junior Amarian Robinson (seven points) and senior Derveonte’ Russell (six points, five assists).
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org.