Junior wing Cam Barron led the Olentangy Orange boys basketball team with 19 points in a 44-38 victory over visiting Buckeye Valley in non-league action Wednesday night in Lewis Center.
The Pioneers held BV to four points in the third quarter to overcome a three-point deficit at the break.
“People look at (BV’s) record and think that they’re not very good, but Andy Gast’s teams are always good,” Orange coach Anthony Calo said. “It’s a rivalry game to a degree – these games are always close.”
The Pioneers hung on for a 49-47 victory at BV last year and won 57-56 on a Grant Gossard layup at the buzzer at home two seasons ago.
“I’m proud of our kids … I think we’re getting better – I think we’re competing,” BV coach Andy Gast said. “I think we’ve got to find ways to score because we’re not scoring enough points. We gave up 44 points and we’ve got to be able to win a game when we have that kind of defensive effort.”
Jordan Shelton knocked down a pair of free throws with 4:15 left in the third to give Orange the lead for good. It started a 7-0 run highlighted by a three-pointer by Matt McCollum.
An Austin Richard jumper ended the spurt for the Barons, who trailed 30-26 at the end of the third.
Dylan Herbert found Nathan Edington underneath to cut the deficit to two early in the fourth, but Zack Stablein’s three pushed it back to five.
Barron connected on his second three-pointer of the night to push the lead to eight. He knocked down five of six free throws down the stretch to help the Pioneers put it out of reach and went 6-for-7 overall from the stripe in the final frame.
“Something that Cam knows that he needs to do is control the emotions,” Calo said. “We really challenged him to focus on what he needs to do for us instead of the things that he can’t control. I though he really responded to that call … I am super-proud of Cam – he did a great job with that.”
Edington was a force for BV underneath all night long. He highlighted the first quarter when he caught and slammed home a Nick Roden back-door alley-oop pass as a part of a 9-0 run. The Barons (2-6) led 11-6 through one.
“Nathan’s come a long way – he’s gotten better every year he’s been in the program,” Gast said. “He’s having a really good year this year. He alters shots … we can put him in the paint and he can be a big-time help on defense. It’s hard to score on him because he’s so long.”
Edington led the team with eight rebounds and six blocks to go with eight points.
“He made a big difference,” Calo said. “We wanted to get him away from the rim in certain situations, but it seems like he always found himself by the rim blocking our shots. He had a lot of blocks. I thought (he) did a really good job of disrupting us.”
Despite his effort, Orange won the rebounding battle 34-27. Barron led the way with eight boards and Jalen Bethel added six to go with eight points for the Pioneers (5-2).
“We ended up just toughing this one out,” Barron said. “That was a big goal for us – it was very important for us to beat them in the rebounding battle.”
The game was tied or changed leads six times in the second quarter as Barron scored seven points. Bethel scored the second of his two buckets in the quarter to give Orange a 19-17 lead.
Richard knocked down a turn-around jumper from the left block extended to tie it 19-19 and then found Herbert in the corner for three to beat the halftime buzzer.
Crawford led BV with 10 points, Richard added six points and four rebounds and Ben Spaulding finished with five points and three assists. Aaron Watson added four points and six rebounds.
Orange is right back at it tonight when it hosts St. Charles at 7:30 p.m. BV continues its non-league schedule Friday night, hosting Marion-Franklin at 7:30 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.