Ryan Godlove didn’t expect to be a geometry teacher. But when he scrawls on the whiteboard in front of his basketball team it’s often all about the triangle. Whether the triangle is equilateral, isosceles or some other configuration, it represents a defense that is designed to stop guards Colby Cross and Trent Koning from scoring.
Twin Valley South employed the triangle-and-two in Thursday night’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Troy High School. Three guys played a triangle zone and two guys played Cross and Koning man-to-man. But the Indians have solved this equation many times this season: X = be patient (other guys make shots + build a lead) + transition points.
X, of course, equals victory.
“We got a lot of good shots in the first half that we wanted, guys taking them from the right spots, just some of those weren’t falling,” Godlove said. “And then in the third quarter they all started falling and that changed the game.”
Koning shot over the top of the triangle for a 3-pointer, and Isaiah Ramey scored twice inside. Then Caleb McKinion started to make things happen from the top of the triangle. A three-point halftime lead had grown to nine, helped by a flurry of three fast-break baskets. By the fourth quarter the Indians forced South into man-to-man — just what the Indians love to face — led by as many as 18 and won 53-40.
Koning scored 13, McKinion 10, Cross nine and Ramey eight. Cross is the team’s only senior and its top scoring threat for four seasons. Games like this, however, prove that now any of the five starters can score in double figures.
“Guys put in work in the offseason and got better,” Cross said. “We came in this season and knew we could be good if we just executed. It’s a lot different than years past that’s for sure. It feels good.”
What to do on defense will be the choice facing Franklin Monroe coach Troy Myers when his Jets face the Indians for a second time this season in the sectional final at 7 p.m. Saturday at Troy. The Jets rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat Tri-County North 47-38 in Thursday’s second game behind 17 points from Cavin Baker and 10 from Ky Cool. When Cedarville beat Franklin Monroe 60-49 a month ago at home, the Jets tried some triangle-and-two. Cross scored 24, Koning 17 and Ramey 10.
“They’ve seen a bunch by now I would imagine, so you’re not going to trick them in the tournament,” Myers said. “They have guard play, they have bigs that understand the game and do their job, they have kids that can come in off the bench and give them production.”
The Jets lost to North by 11 during the season, so Myers tried to impede star guard Dylan Stinson with some defensive tricks. But he scrapped it when the North rallied from a 23-11 halftime deficit to lead 33-31 entering the fourth quarter.
“Let’s not fake it, be who we are, be tough as nails and see if we can come up with a win,” Myers said. “It’s going to be the same thing Saturday.”
Cedarville (19-5) won’t be seeing the same Monroe (8-16) team it saw a month ago. The Jets have won six of their last their 10. Myers said his young and undersized players are embracing his slogan of #GetBetter.
“You put it on the whiteboard, and it’s just a rallying cry,” he said. “But when you get people to believe in a vision like that, and they understand the why behind it, then you hope that your trajectory just continues to rise and that you’re on some type of crescendo to get better every day.”
Myers said he’s seen evidence of #GetBetter in statistics, on game film and in Thursday’s fourth-quarter reboot.
“Do you have the toughness to sustain that?,” he said. “I don’t think we win that game if they weren’t doing that on a continuous basis.”
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.