The East Canton Hornets gained their fifth win of the season in their Homecoming game last Friday with a 56-46 win over Rootstown. A balanced scoring effort assisted the hosts in posting their victory. They also dropped a close one the previous Saturday at Strasburg (stats were not available at press time for last week's issue).
The Hornets led 13-11 after a quarter thanks to six points from Hayden Miller and five from Alec Pennell. A 6-3 run to end the quarter gave them this slight edge. Pennell opened the game with a trey and then scored on a rebound to end it. Miller notched a pair of free throws and two fielders.
They maintained a two point edge at the half. Miller hit a two and a trey in mid stanza. Drew Heitger and Bryce Moldovan aided the cause with putbacks for a 24-22 advantage.
East Canton took control in period three to build a 38-29 lead. Cody Reichard came up big with seven markers, opening the half with a trey and later adding consecutive fielders. Pennell notched a trey and a freebie as the Hornets appeared ready to run away from the Rovers.
Such was not the case. Opening the last quarter, the Rovers went on a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to 40-39 by mid-quarter. Season-long nemesis, the turnover, was at the heart of the Hornet problems, as they suffered four in this stretch.
However, they righted the ship hit with some excellent free throw shooting down the stretch, hitting eight in a row at one point as D. Reichard and Miller each hit four to build the lead back to 48-39 and the hosts coasted to a celebratory homecoming.
Miller led East Canton with 19 points. Reichard added 15 including a trey; Pennell hit a pair of treys to accumulate 10.
Reichard and Heigert led the board effort with seven each. Pennell added six boards. Reichard grabbed three steals and dished out six assists.
Coach Chad Pado commented on the win, "First, that's a much improved Rootstown team. They're young and developing so hats off to them for playing hard and playing well. I was pleased with our offensive execution but too many unforced to's tonight.
"Defensively I thought our pressure kept them out of rhythm. They never seemed to get comfortable in the against our half-court defense so I was pleased with that. They tossed in 3 late 3's in the 4th quarter or that one may look a little more lopsided. (Shooting) 17-23 from the line and 11-12 in the 4th quarter was great to see. We put them in positions where they had to foul to guard us and our guys stepped up and made them pay from the free throw line."
The Hornets dropped a nail biter at Strasburg last Saturday 41-40. Miller hit four treys en route to an 18-point effort but to no avail.
The contest was a close one with the Hornets leading 12-9 after a stanza but trailing 24-22 at halftime. Still with 0:09 remaining they led by one with Miller at the line with a one-and-one. He missed for the first time that night, the Hornets fouled, and the Tigers connected on the game-winning free throws with 0:01 remaining.
Reichard scored 13 for the visitors including two treys and added six rebounds, three steals, and six assists. Heitger led the Hornets with seven boards and Clay Libertore added six. Pennell chipped in a trey.
Coach Pado commented, "We didn't particularly play well but it was a game we had appeared to find a way to grind out a victory. Unfortunately we let one get away in the final seconds! The most important thing is that we learn from the experience and make sure we don't have let down after dropping one we all feel we should have gotten tonight!"