The first of five games in an eight day span was a 61-42 Cavalier victory over East Clinton Friday night at Hatton Gym.
Playing for the first time, Chillicothe used an up tempo pace and limited the Astros to one field goal until 15 seconds remained in the opening quarter. The Cavs made just 4-of-16 field goals in the first period, but hit 6-of-8 free throws to take a 14-4 advantage.
“We focused on getting in the passing lanes” said Cavs Coach Eric Huffer “being more aggressive. VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) calls it that havoc… I want to create havoc with our pressure… we did a good job.”
East Clinton switched to a zone defense when the Cavs were unsuccessful from beyond the arc (going 0-9 to start), but that opened up the inside game where Matt Benson and Nolan Taylor got some blue collar opportunities from the charity stripe.
Benson (11 points) made 4-of-5 point-blank range field goals and Taylor finished with a season high 14 points. It was Taylor who broke the ice for the Cavs 3-point drought at 4:37 in the second period. On the night, Chillicothe hit just 6-of-28 three-pointers, but that didn’t bother Coach Huffer because the Cavs were getting the job done elsewhere and were getting second and third chance baskets.
Chillicothe (8-6/5-2) had a 17-point lead in the second quarter after a couple of Benson free throws (31-14). The Astros (6-9/1-7) cut the deficit to 31-20 to start the second half, but Isaiah Johnson drained a three-pointer from the right corner and closed on an 18-11 run to close out the third quarter at 52-31.
Dalton Floyd led East Clinton with 15 points while Clyde Snow and Johnny Blair combined for another 16.
The Cavs’ had balanced scoring across the board including 8 points off the bench by Kyle May. Eddie Wells had 8, Tommy Bolte and Isaiah Johnson had 7 each and Nate Rosenbauer scored 6.
Chillicothe’s next four games are on the road, beginning with Amanda Clearcreek Saturday afternoon. The Cavs will play at Hillsboro Monday, Greenfield Tuesday and Miami Trace Friday before returning home February 8th with Clinton Massie at CHS.
The Astros will be home with Madison Plains Saturday and back home with Clinton Massie.
Chillicothe travels to Lees Creek on Valentine’s night.