The opening round match up in the 2015 McDonald’s Classic varsity boys bracket at North Adams High School saw the unbeaten Peebles Indians hooking up with the West Union Dragons, a match up that fans just saw a week ago. That first meeting resulted in a 73-37 Peebles win and Tuesday night was almost the exactly the same margin as the Indians broke open a close game in the second quarter and rolled to a 60-35 triumph in a contest that counted as part of the Southern Hills Athletic Conference standings.
“We’d like for every game to be a progression and tonight we had too many unforced turnovers so we took a step backwards there,” Peebles head coach Josh Arey told C103 radio after the game. “It’s tough on Christmas break when kids just lay around all day and then have to play but we still need to come in focused every night.”
“I thought Bostin Robinson gave us some great minutes tonight and Dillon Evans continues to get better and the more floor time those guys get, the better of we will be down the road.”
After losing big last week, the Dragons came out of the gate on Tuesday night with a renewed fire and sparked by two early J.J. Kramer baskets, took a 4-0 lead. It took the Indians nearly four minutes to score on a bucket in the paint by Camron Gordley and and ensuing three-pointer by Tanner Arey gave Peebles their first lead. West Union went back on top when Craig Horton drilled a three from the wing but another Arey bucket tied the game again.
A jumper by Tucker Schmitz bounced Peebles back in front but West Union got a score from Jared Fenton to again deadlock the teams at 9 each, but that proved to be the high point of the evening for the Dragons.
With the score tied at 9, the Indians proceeded to score the game’s next 16 points, leading 13-9 as the first period closed, then reeling off the first 12 points of the second quarter. The Indians did their damage on the boards, dominating the glass and getting three offensive rebounds and stick back buckets in their run. One of those by Dillon Evans gave Peebles the 25-9 lead with four minutes left in the half.
West Union finally got back on the board after nearly a six-minute drought on a Kramer free throw, but the Indians answered that with another put back basket, this one by Tyler Ryan. It only got worse on the rebounding end for the Dragons when Gordley missed the second of a bonus free throw situation, but grabbed his own rebound and put it back in to help the Indians to a 32-14 halftime advantage.
The roll continued after the intermission for the Indians as a Gordley three-pointer from the top of the key gave his team a 38-15 lead and a later 8-0 run fueled by a pair of Ryan buckets made it 48-19 at the end of three.
After the two teams traded three-pointers early in the fourth, Eli Fuller for the Dragons from deep in the corner and Arey for the Indians, both sides began to substitute freely and the final eight minutes became a “battle of the benches.” Though they faced an insurmountable deficit, the Dragons didn’t go down without a fight, scoring the game’s final 10 points, nine of them on a trio of three-point goals, two by Welch and another by Elijah McCarty, but when the final horn sounded, it was the Indians moving on to the Classic finals and staying unbeaten, downing West Union by the final count of 60-35.
The Indians (7-0, 5-0 SHAC) were led in scoring again by sophomore guard Tanner Arey and junior forward Camron Gordley, both of whom tossed in 16 points. Scout Kremin also hit double figures with 10, with Tyler Ryan, Tucker Schmitz, and Bostin Robinson all getting 4 each.
“Scout has played well for us and it’s often overlooked how good he is defensively,” said Coach Arey. “He does a great job for us and I thought his effort tonight was outstanding. Camron and Tanner both played hard and missed some shots they would normally hit, but Camron was all over the boards and Tanner played great defense out front.”
“Tyler has been great. He is just so smart on the floor and as a four-year varsity player, we have a lot of faith in him.”
West Union (1-7, 0-6 SHAC)was led by 8 points from Elijah McCarty, with D.J. Welch and J.J. Kramer scoring 7 apiece.
Peebles now advances to the Dec. 30 McDonald’s Classic championship game to defend their title, where they will face the winner of the Dec. 23 North Adams-Manchester contest. (No result of that game was available at the early press date.) Tip off for the championship game at North Adams is set for 7:30 p.m.
West Union will be in the Classic consolation game, facing the loser of the North Adams-Manchester game. That third place battle is set for Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
WUHS 9 5 5 16 —35
PHS 13 19 16 12 —60
WUHS (35): Welch 2 1-2 7, Fuller 1 0-0 3, Vogler 1 0-0 2, McCarty 3 0-0 8, Kramer 3 1-2 7, Horton 1 0-0 3, Weeks 1 1-2 3, Fenton 1 0-0 2, Team 13 3-6 35.
PHS (60): Conley 0 0-1 0, Schmitz 1 2-2 4, Arey 6 2-4 16, Robinson 1 2-2 4, Stivers 1 0-0 2, Kremin 5 0-0 10, L. Gordley 1 0-0 2, Evans 1 0-0 2, Ryan 2 0-0 4, C. Gordley 6 3-8 16, Team 24 9-19 60.
WUHS- Welch 2, Fuller 1, McCarty 2, Horton 1
PHS- Arey 2, C. Gordley 1