(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
ORAN -- The Bloomfield Wildcats used a balanced offensive attack and solid defense to pick up a 61-49 road win against the Oran Eagles Monday night.
Garrett Rice paced Bloomfield with a game-high 18 points, but other Wildcats were not far behind.
Derrick Caldwell added 14 points, while Seth Hill and Cody Redcloud each chipped in with nine.
Bloomfield's ability to slow down the Eagles' leading scorer, Jon Morrow, was largely responsible for their quick start.
"We wanted [Morrow] to have to work for each basket," said Bloomfield head coach Dustin Hicks.
The Wildcats consistently denied passes under the basket. When Oran was able to get the ball inside, defensive help was quick to arrive for Bloomfield. Morrow was limited to only three shot attempts and four points in the first half.
"They did a good job keeping Morrow away from the rim and limiting his touches,"
Oran head coach Joe Shoemaker said. "They did a very good job helping on him."
Bloomfield's strong second quarter offense put up nearly as many points as Oran scored in the first half. Bloomfield outscored the Eagles 18-10 in the second quarter, and held a comfortable 31-19 lead at halftime.
Oran turned up the intensity on both sides of the ball in the third quarter. They posted their highest single-quarter point total of the night, due in part to Morrow getting more offensive touches.
Morrow was able to score nine of his 13 points in the second half, including six in the third quarter.
"I was pleased with [Morrow's] adjustments in the second half," Shoemaker said.
In addition to scoring 15 points in the second quarter, the Eagles limited Bloomfield to 12 points, which was their lowest scoring quarter of the contest.
"I felt we got out-worked a little in the first half, but we responded better in the second half," Shoemaker said.
Oran cut their deficit to nine points in the final seconds of the third quarter. The lead was nearly trimmed to six points, but a long 3-pointer from Gabe Kielhofner fell just short, bouncing of the front of the rim.
The fourth quarter turned into a free throw shooting contest between Bloomfield's players. The Wildcats were able to get to the free throw line 23 times in the quarter, and scored 16 of of their 18 fourth quarter points from the charity stripe.
"We had some frustration fouls on turnovers in the fourth quarter that we shouldn't have committed," said Shoemaker. "Bloomfield hit their free throws and did what they needed to do to win late in the game."
Coach Hicks, whose Wildcats are riding a seven-game winning streak, was happy to pick up a solid road win.
"Our free throw shooting could've been a little better, but we'll always take a win on the road against a quality opponent this time of year," said Hicks.
Nathan Michelsen lead the Eagles with 14 points.
Bloomfield improved to 17-6 while Oran fell to 12-9. Oran will play on the road tonight, traveling to Advance to take on the Hornets.
BLOOMFIELD (61) -- Jacob McNeil 4, Garrett Rice 18, Seth Hill 9, Derrick Caldwell 14, Dylan Bader 7, Cody Redcloud 9. FG 17 FT 24-34 F 17. (3-pointers: Rice 1, Hill 2. Fouled out: none.)
ORAN (49) -- Caleb Priggel 2, Preston Scherer 4, Gabe Kielhofner 6, Nathan Michelsen 14, Reece Mangels 2, Jon Morrow 13, Kody Moore 8. FG 17 FT 12-16 F 21. (3-pointers: Michelsen 1, Moore 2. Fouled out: none.)