ORIENT — What happened in the first two minutes had a lot to do with a running clock in the final two minutes, according to Orient-Macksburg boys basketball coach Drew Dornack.
Diagonal had three free throws already in taking an early 5-0 lead, as O-M’s Jordan Thompson went to the bench with two fouls in the first 2 1/2 minutes. That’s a predicament for the Bulldogs, whose only other experienced starter this year is senior Jacob Caviness.
Thompson returned to hit a 3-pointer late in the first quarter, but a 15-5 game at the break was quickly extended to 24-7 three minutes into the second period. Diagonal finished with a 63-28 victory that reached the 35-point running clock with 2:30 left.
“Thompson getting in foul trouble,” Dornack said, when asked how the game got away so quickly. “He’s a good ballhandler and he’s one of our top scorers. I knew they were going to be good. They’re fundamentally sound, and they get after it.”
Diagonal, now 9-9, took a 10-point lead after one quarter against Adair-Casey, which is third in the Rolling Hills Conference. The Maroons ended up losing that game, 62-50.
But on Thursday night, there was no fading. The Maroons’ active defense kept the pressure on and forced numerous Bulldog turnovers, converting several into fast break layups.
“I thought we did a lot of good things,” said Diagonal coach Matt Warren. “We have a guy in Jacob Taylor who can push our break, and we can run. We take pride in our defense. That’s what our team is built around.”
Taylor and center Ryan Parrott each had 13 points for Diagonal, with Taylor snaring six steals. Heath Evans had a team-high eight rebounds along with eight points. Levi Jarred dished out five assists while scoring seven points.
Caviness led O-M (1-14) with eight points and Thompson finished with seven. The Bulldogs host Adair-Casey Tuesday in the “Be Bold, Go Gold” game, a childhood cancer awareness event. Several fundraising events for the American Childhood Cancer Organization are planned by Orient-Macksburg High School Talented and Gifted (TAG).
The matchup will be a conference game next year, as O-M joins the Bluegrass Conference. Diagonal travels to Moravia tonight.
DIAGONAL (63) — Jacob Taylor 4 4-6 13, Ryan Parrott 6 1-2 13, Shad Haidsiak 4 1-2 9, Blake Butler 2 5-6 9, Levi Jarred 2 2-2 7, Gerad Naill 1 0-0 2, Kade Means 1 0-0 2. Totals — 29 14-22 63. 3-point goals — 9 (Taylor 1, Evans 1, Jarred 1). Rebounds — Evans 8. Assists — Jarred 5. Steals — Taylor 6. Team fouls — 12. Fouled out — None.
ORIENT-MACKSBURG (25) — Jacob Caviness 4 0-0 8, Jordan Thompson 1 4-6 7, Chantz Davidson 3 0-0 6, Jesse Johnson 2 0-0 4. Totals — 10 4-6 25. 3-point goals — 1 (Thompson 1). Team fouls — 14. Fouled out — None.