ARCANUM – The Arcanum Trojans, energized by an opening 12-2 run and sticky man-to-man defense, defeated the visiting Dixie Greyhounds of the Southwestern Buckeye League 74-63 Saturday evening.
“Saturday nights are always interesting,” Arcanum boys basketball coach Marcus Bixler said. “Everybody has a tough conference game Friday. The team that has some energy and intensity usually can jump up early on people on Saturday nights. We were very fortunate to be able to do that from the get go. We moved the ball really well and got some really good looks.”
The Trojans’ Austin Baker keyed the opening rally by scoring seven or the first 12 points. The Greyhounds finally would add two field goals before the period would end, but Austin Baker would hit a triple to make the score 15-6 Arcanum after one quarter.
The offenses opened up a bit more in the second quarter. Dixie had to work hard to create its opportunities while the Trojans continued to get good shots from their motion offense. Cole Burrell began to assert himself in the period as he scored seven of his game-high 26 to go along with 11 rebounds for the game.
“Dixie has some kids that can put the ball in the basket,” Coach Bixler said. “They’ve got three kids with 15 or more per game. They’re a hard team to defend. We wanted to make them not shoot the three and put the ball on the floor, then get there and make them pull up. Thought we did a good job of making them take runners and some off-balance twos and then we did a really good job at rebounding the ball. We were ready to go at both ends of the floor. We were able to get some stops early on and that kind of fueled our confidence.”
The Trojans managed to extend their lead at the half to 35-21. The crucial element for Arcanum on the evening was its 3-point shooting. The Trojans were 8 of 17 from behind the arc compared to 4 of 15 for Dixie. Coach Bixler mentioned all the time his players spent in the gym during the offseason with nobody around to work on 3-point shots for just such a game.
The third quarter saw the Greyhounds make their push. After five minutes into the period Dixie had outscored the Trojans 13-6 to cut the lead to 41-34. The teams traded treys and the Trojans added a field goal to give Arcanum a 50-41 lead after three periods.
The intensity of the game picked up as well as the scoring in the fourth quarter. Again the Greyhounds shrunk the Trojan lead. This time they cut it to six at 63-57 after a 3-point play by senior Cody Grubb with under 3:30 to play.
Burrell, who scored 11 in the period, and Wade Meeks scored key baskets to help stabilize the lead. Dixie never got closer than nine the rest of the way.
The victory raised the Trojans record to 3-9 on the season and 1-4 in the Cross County Conference. Dixie fell to 5-7 with a 1-3 mark in the SWBL.
Arcanum won the junior varsity contest 60-40.
Dixie – 63
Rutledge 6, C Grubb 17, Worley 9, Miller 13, Gengler 9, Arnette 7, Grise 2.
Arcanum – 74
Kinney 3, Burns 7, Burrell 26, Au Baker 18, Meeks 14, An Baker 6.
3-pointers: Dix: 4 (Gengler 2, Worley, Arnette); Arc: 8 (Au Baker 3, Burrell 2, Meeks 2, Burns).
Free throws: Dix: 13-18; Arc: 18-27.