WINSLOW — The Winslow High School boys basketball team’s game plan revolved around getting Medomak Valley big man John Murray out of the game as much as possible. Turned out, Mother Nature beat the Black Raiders to Murray.
Out sick, Murray didn’t make the trip to Winslow with the Panthers. Without Murray to contend with, Winslow post players Austin Ireland and Justin Martin went virtually unchallenged. The pair combined for 38 points and 22 rebounds, including 15 offensive boards.
The Black Raiders never trailed, led by as many as 29 points in the third quarter, and rolled to a 73-61 win.
“(Murray’s) a really tough player and defender,” said Ireland, who scored a game-high 24 points and had 13 rebounds, nine offensive. “We were up 30 points. I don’t think one player makes up 30 points, but it would have been a different game.”
Both teams are now 7-2.
“Even with Murray, we were going to go inside, because our goal was to get him in foul trouble and get him out of the game. He didn’t play tonight, but we played who they put on the floor against us. We executed the same game plan and both our bigs had big nights,” Winslow coach Jared Browne said.
Scoring in transition and on second chance baskets were keys for the Black Raiders throughout the game.
“That was a point of emphasis. We knew Medomak is a very physical, really good rebounding team. So (Monday) in practice, we spent a lot of time working on box outs and check outs, and it paid off,” Browne said.
Martin scored 14 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked four shots. Medomak Valley coach Nick DePatsy said the biggest place Murray was missed was on the glass.
“With John, yeah, he probably would have helped a little bit, but I don’t know. They came ready to play,” DePatsy said. “Ireland, he was on the boards. He was a beast. That was a big difference.”
Ahead 17-10 after one quarter, Winslow closed the first half with a 19-3 run for a 40-17 halftime lead. A Trevor Lovely basket with 5:11 left in the third quarter gave the Black Raiders their biggest lead, 50-21.
Defensive pressure was key for Winslow. The Black Raiders forced 11 turnovers in the second quarter and seven more in the third, many leading to uncontested layups.
“We put Trevor (Lovely) at the top, just to try to mix things up. With his length, he was able to get his hands on a lot of passes, and Nason (Lanphier) was able to convert them into layups. Our guards are playing well right now. We’ve got the athletes, so we have to use them,” Browne said.
Added DePatsy: “They’re quick, they’re fast. They get after it. They made us speed up and got us out of our rhythm.”
Medomak cut the Black Raiders’ lead to 15 points with just under three and a half minutes to play on a Micah Williamson 3-pointer, but an 8-0 run, capped by an Ireland layup, pushed Winslow’s lead to 73-51 with 1:55 to play.
“We do really well in our own gym. We’ve had a lot of other players say they don’t want to play us in our gym. Our fans are awesome,” Ireland said.
Lanphier scored 14 points for Winslow, while Lovely added 13.
The Panthers closed the game with a 10-0 run. Ryan Ripley led Medomak Valley with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Brandon Soper added 13 points for the Panthers.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242