Prep boys basketball: Warren routs New Lex

LOGAN – Sectional championships are nothing new to Blane Maddox and his Warren Warriors, but the head coach doesn’t take the accomplishment for granted.

“I’m not sure exactly how many we’ve had in a row, but we’ve had a lot,” Maddox said following a 70-47 sectional final win over New Lexington at Logan High School.

“We’re proud of the sectional championships. Many schools count them and keep track of them because they’re not that easy to get. So we’re proud of them.”

The Warriors failed to show any tournament jitters, shooting 10-of-13 (77 percent) from the floor in the first quarter to take a 26-11 lead into the second period.

Overall, Warren was 25-for-46 (54 percent) shooting in the game, including 10-for-19 (51 percent) from beyond the arch.

Junior Evan French led the attack with 22 points, sinking six 3-pointers in nine attempts. Fellow junior Reece Patton wasn’t far behind with 17 points, while sophomore Michael Hall added 13 and Dylan Leffingwell contributed 10. “When you’ve got scoring like that, who do you key on?” said Maddox of the well-balanced attack. “They all can score. It’s good stuff.”

Warren never trailed in the contest as Patton opened the scoring with a 3-pointer. After the Panthers’ Collin Russell responded with a trey, Hall returned the blow with a triple to give the Warriors the lead for good.

Later in the quarter, back-to-back baskets by French and Patton made it 10-5 in Warren’s favor, and moments later French hit consecutive 3-pointers to stretch it to 16-7.

French’s third trifecta of the period capped a 7-0 run by the blue and white to make the score 23-9. Russell and Ethan Kunkler each hit jumpers to open the second quarter which cut the Panther deficit to 11, but a 3-ball by Hall and a layup by senior Dylan Leffingwell made it 31-15. Warren’s lead would stretch to 18 points on another trey from French, and later a pair of free throws by Patton made it 38-20 at the end of the first half.

Things wouldn’t get better for the Panthers in the second half, as the Warriors would go on an 11-0 run at one point in the third quarter, capped by 3-pointers from senior Danny Pannell and French, to put the game out of reach at 54-29.

Kunkler led New Lexington with 19 points. Russell was the only other Panther in double figures with 10. New Lex ended its season with a record of 9-15.

The win upped Warren’s record to 22-1 on the season. Up next for the Warriors is a district semifinal matchup against Unioto Friday at the Convo in Athens. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:15 p.m.

“We’ve got to go take care of business on the Convo floor,” Maddox said. “Going up against a very big, very strong Unioto team. They’re playing very well right now.”