Next: Cardinal Mooney vs. East, Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Next: East Palestine at Leetonia, Dec. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
By Doug Chapin
Senior guard Danny Reese scored 18 of his 23 points in the first half as Cardinal Mooney High built a 40-29 halftime lead on the way to a 61-51 victory Tuesday night over East Palestine.
Reese scored the Cardinals’ last 10 points of the first quarter as they went from a 10-5 deficit to a 19-14 lead at the break. In the second quarter, East Palestine (3-1) used a box-and-one against Reese but he still managed eight more points and quarterbacked the Mooney (4-0) attack.
“He (Reese) is a basketball player, he understands the game,” Mooney coach Chris Kohl said. “He understands when he has to do something, he finds the open player, he’s a good foul shooter. He’s just a real smart basketball player and he runs our team.
“He’ll come over to us and he’ll say, ‘Coach, let’s run this,’ and I have all the confidence in the world in him. Guys like him don’t come along that often. It’s nice to coach a player like that,” Kohl added.
East Palestine coach Tom Bingham also was impressed by Reese.
“They definitely are the quickest team we’ve played and Reese is darn good, too,” he said. “They do a lot of nice things with him where he controls pretty much everything they do. We had our quickest guys on him, but what are you going to do? He’s that good.”
Mooney used full-court pressure throughout the first half to build its lead. East Palestine would not go away, though, and despite trailing by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, the Bulldogs cut the deficit to 48-40 at the end of the period. They never got closer than 48-41 in the fourth quarter.
“We want to go full-court, apply as much pressure as we can against certain teams, depending on the scouting report,” Kohl said. “It’s kind of what we pride ourselves on, getting after teams like that.”
Reese had four assists and five steals to go with his scoring. Sophomore post Doug Caputo had 14 points and 10 rebounds and junior Ryan Farragher added 12 points.
For East Palestine, 6-foot-8 senior post Corey Wright had 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. Brett Foreman added 10 points, Adam Robb had nine points and six rebounds and Luke Gorby and Jacob DiCello dished out five assists apiece.
Both coaches said they are pleased with the way their teams have started the season.
“If you would have told me we would start the season 4-0 I would have questioned you,” Kohl said. “I am very pleased with the way these guys are playing.”