WEST ALEXANDRIA — Jandon Ankrom and Grant Ulrich each scored a career high to lift Twin Valley South’s boys’ basketball team to a 71-58 win over visiting Newton in a Western Ohio Athletic Conference tilt on Friday, Dec. 3.
“Coming in we knew how explosive Newton can be offensively, they can score in a hurry. They like to get the ball out and run quick, ” South coach Ryan Innis said. “The emphasis this week was definitely sprint back and transition, try to frustrate (Chandler) Peters, their guard, and to try to force him into tough situations and we knew (Harold) Oburn was going to be very tough matchup with his size inside.”
The Panthers did just that and the added performances from Ankrom and Ulrich have the Panthers at 3-0 for the first time in a while.
Ulrich, a senior, scored 24 points and had five rebounds and three assists.
”I always say he’s the quarterback out there,” Innis said of Ulrich. “I said if this world has more Grant Ulrichs this world would be a better place. He’s the ultimate leader. He’s the ultimate competitor. He’s the first one in and he’s the last one out.
“I laugh all the time because we talk about eye contact and being coachable. And sometimes I got to turn my head away and not look at him because he staring straight through my soul but he’s a coach’s dream. He’s a fantastic player, and I wish I would have had him for four years instead of two.”
Ankrom, a sophomore, turned in a 24-point, 14 rebound performance. He also added three steals.
“He has great footwork. He sees the floor really, really well,” Innis said. “And that’s another kid that’s extremely coachable, a competitor, always wanting to get better. It’s just the ball’s a magnet to him. He’s come a long way. I’ll have to give him a quick shout out because he was upset with me for not putting him in the in the newspaper for being over six foot so I think he may have came out here and play with a little edge.”
After falling behind 14-9 after the first quarter the Panthers rallied to regain the lead at 21-20 with four minutes left in the second quarter. It was a lead they never relinquished and led 32-24 at the half.
South led by as many as 18 in the third quarter, 50-32.
“I thought our guys came to play defensively. We were all over the floor getting after it. We knew our size and athleticism needed to be a huge factor and to use that to our advantage,” Innis said. “And I thought we did a fantastic job on both ends the floor rebounding wise offensively and D boards. I think that was one of the defining factors.”
Cole Bishop added eight points and three rebounds. Jace Thuma and Logan Clark each contributed six points.
Innis said its been fun first couple of weeks of the season.
”After our struggles in the past it’s fun to see it. It’s fun to see that ball go through the rim,” Innis said. “Just seeing all the struggles that these these kids went through last year and just just seeing their passion and how much work they put in in the offseason, all the credit goes to them. Those guys are fantastic. I love that group of guys and I’m just excited for them.”
South (3-0, 1-0 WOAC), was scheduled to play at New Miami on Tuesday, Dec. 7 and will play at Tri-County North on Friday, Dec. 10.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr