PLAIN CITY – The Buckeye Valley boys basketball team and Jonathan Alder played in some knock-down, drag-out games in the not too distant past.
Two years ago, the Barons swept Jonathan Alder in a pair of games by a combined two points in the Pioneers’ final season in the MOAC. The previous year, the two shared a league title.
Saturday night’s Division II district tournament second-round game was not one of those.
The Pioneers raced out to an 18-5 first quarter lead and never looked back, sending BV home with a 71-32 decision.
“We thought we had a really good chance to win this game,” BV coach Andy Gast said. “Gotta give Jonathan Alder credit. Jonathan Alder’s skill level and their understanding of the game of basketball is really sound.”
Jackson Izzard knocked down three 3-pointers and completed a double-double with 11 rebounds to lead the Pioneers (18-6).
He went a perfect 8-for-8 at the foul line to score a game-high 21 points and was one of four Pioneers to finish in double figures.
Jacob Koenig had 12 points, including a shot from over the half-court line that beat the halftime buzzer that only added insult to injury as Alder pushed its lead to 39-14 at the break.
Daniel Heinig added 11 and seven rebounds, including five on the offensive end, to go with three assists. He scored the Pioneers’ first five points and they never trailed.
Logan Stevens had 10 points and three steals and Jack Santa-Emma dished out six assists to go with nine points for second-seeded Alder.
Alder coach Brent Cahill used the word “efficient” when describing his team’s performance.
“We were super-efficient in our execution,” he said. “Even when they tried to scramble us – we were skilled enough to move it and get layups. We worked on that and every time you play Buckeye Valley – that’s a big key – and we did it very well tonight.”
The Pioneers went 25-for-45 from the floor — including five 3-pointers on eight attempts — and went 16 of 18 at the foul line. They assisted on 14 of their made baskets and held a 38-19 advantage on the boards.
“We’re a more skilled team than we were (a couple of years ago),” Cahill said. “We got a lot of different pieces to break their pressure. Every time we play them, it’s a contrast in styles. We play a more deliberate style – we push in transition. It’s hard to hold in possession against them for long periods of time with the way they play and their pressure.”
BV went the other way, shooting just 24 percent from the floor, including 7-for-27 from 3-point range and just 1-for-7 at the foul line.
Jack Rotondo provided one of the few bright spots scoring a team-high 12 points on four 3-pointers.
The Barons (10-13), seeded 14th, featured just one senior and started three freshmen with another that came off the bench to go with one sophomore and a junior.
“We have everybody coming back except for Luke (Lucas),” Gast said. “I stressed to our guys that there’s going to be a competition within ourselves for minutes next year. It depends on who works in the offseason.
“I told our guys, ‘If you come back next year the same player that you were this year – you’re going to be passed up.’ We’re going to really challenge our guys to become better basketball players in the offseason – skill-wise.”
Alder advances to face fourth-seeded Bishop Hartley in a district semifinal Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at a site to be determined.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.