Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
WARDSVILLE, Mo. — With the reigning Tri-County MVP on the court, the Blair Oaks boys basketball team knew it would have to keep Versailles point guard Trey Woods in check Friday in order to pick up its 15th win.
The Falcons did just that, holding Woods to a 3-of-13 shooting performance and just four first-half points in a 89-66 win against the Tigers.
“He’s one of the best players in the area,” Blair Oaks coach Ryan Fick said. “So we’ve known with past experience that it starts with him.”
The Falcons forced misses on nine of Woods’ first 10 shots from the field, and though the senior picked up 17 points, most came in the second half when Blair Oaks had the game in hand.
Meanwhile, the Falcons’ star senior put on a show of his own. Kory Franks scored six of his team’s first eight points and finished with 20 on 9-of-14 shooting.
“He did a good job as a senior tonight to kind of come out and set the tone for us on the offensive end,” Fick said. “We struggled for a few minutes getting any kind of flow, but made a few baskets and everybody else just kind of followed suit.”
The Falcons trailed 3-2 early but finished the first quarter on an 8-2 run to take a lead.
They wouldn’t give it back.
Blair Oaks began the second quarter with a 10-3 swing and finished the half on an 8-0 run up 45-28.
The Tigers came out of halftime strong, scoring the first seven points of the third quarter to get within 10, but Fick doused the brief Versailles hot streak with a timeout.
“We just needed to refocus,” he said. “I thought we were flat when we came out, but give Versailles credit. They came out and hit a couple shots early and had a lot of energy coming out of the locker room. I brought some guys off the bench pretty quick that sparked us and just gave us a lot of energy and we got a couple buckets and settled down a little bit and just got the lead back to where it was.”
Past where it was, in fact. The Falcons came out of the timeout with an 11-2 run to take a 19-point edge and assuage any concerns the home crowd might have had about a Versailles comeback.
In addition to Woods, Blair Oaks had to keep an eye on 6-foot-3 Tigers senior Michael Allen. Allen was a formidable presence in the post, racking up a team-high 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting to go with eight rebounds.
But the Falcons were able to respond with a strong inside presence of their own, and Blair Oaks forwards Jason Rackers and Owen Luebbering each racked up 12 points.
“We were able to get some high-low action with Owen and Jason there in the second quarter,” Fick said. “Jason’s come in and played his role really well as of late and just has a great set of hands and finishes well around the basket.
“He has really complemented Owen well in the last few weeks, so moving forward here at the end of the season, that’s going to be a big key for us to establish a little bit of a post presence. Those two work really well together.”
The Falcons did plenty of scoring at the rim, and kept the game at a high pace all night.
“We were playing fast tonight, getting the ball up and down the floor, scoring in transition, so that’s key for us,” Fick said. “That’s how we’ve been playing lately. That’s how we like to play all the time, but lately we’ve really been doing a good job.”
Cody Alexander scored 19 points, 10 of which came at the line. C.J. Closser was also in double digits with 12.
The Falcons (15-8) are now 4-1 in conference play and host California on Tuesday.