By John Bombatch
XENIA — Hot shooting from a well-balanced Xenia attack earned the host Buccaneers a season opening 75-46 win over Beavercreek, Friday night in a packed Xenia High School Blue Pit gymnasium.
Xenia (1-0) turned up its defensive intensity from the start, playing a full-court in-your-face defense which helped the Bucs roll out to a 23-10 lead after eight minutes of play.
But Beavercreek used its height advantage to nab several second-chance offensive rebounds and pulled back within seven points of the lead at halftime.
But the second half was all Xenia, as the Bucs stretched their lead back to a double-digit margin on Ryan Johnson’s three-pointer from the left corner to make it 33-23. From that point on, Xenia kept its double-digit lead and slowly pulled away.
“The biggest thing is that I liked how we shared the basketball, and I thought we defended hard and really got into it, especially in that second half,” Xenia coach Kent Anderson said. “We had a good balance of perimeter shooting, a rim attack, free-throw shooting … It was just a lot of good contributions from everybody.”
Five different Buccaneer players combined to hit 11 3-point shots in the game.
Six Xenia Bucs combined to hit 16 of the teams’s 21 free throw opportunities.
Ray James led the way with a 19-point effort. He drained five threes for the game, and hit four of them in the fourth quarter alone.
Rocky James finished with 15 points, Johnson and Samari Curtis each chipped in with 10 points, and Danny Naylor finished with nine.
“To see Danny Naylor on the floor that long where he didn’t get hurt, Rocky and Ray (James) played at a whole different level, and to see Ryan Johnson play solidly, and Samari Curtis, in his first varsity game as a freshman, I thought he played very very well. We’ll keep getting better, but overall I’m very pleased with the win,” Anderson said.
Beavercreek coach Mark Hess was still talking with his players long after the game, and was not available before presstime.
Jon Allesandro led the Beavers with a solid 15-point effort. He had a good number of the team’s offensive boards in the first half as well. Cedric Baldwin also got into double-figure scoring with 10 points and Alec Otto was next with eight.
Both teams return to action on Friday, Dec. 4.
Xenia will host Sidney for a 7:30 p.m. contest, while Beavercreek enjoys its home opener with Greenville, also at 7:30 p.m.