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SJO boys open season with resounding basketball victory

If you missed the St. Joseph-Ogden boys basketball team's season opener at the Toyota of Danville Classic last night, then you missed one heck of a teaser for has the markings of an exciting year of SJO basketball.

Chance Izard goes up for a shot
Chance Izard goes up for a shot in the Spartans' Toyota of Danville Classic basketball on Tuesday. Izard finished with 19 points. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
Entering his second season at the helm, Duval started four seniors and freshman. All five were familiar names over the PA during this year's football season.

Conner Hodge and Drew Course took to the floor as forwards. Chance Izard and Payton Cain started in the guard slots and 6-4 freshman Ty Pence got the season's first touch on the ball at center.

Almost two minutes past scoreless before Izard made a lay up with 6:10 left in the first quarter to give the Spartans the first lead of the game.

It was a relatively unproductive first quarter for both teams that ended at 7-4. Midway through the second one however, the Spartans shed most of their first-game jitters and started an 11 point run on GRF. Skipping second and third gear, jumping right into fourth, St. Joseph-Ogden continued the offense onslaught on their way to a 64-37 win over Georgetown-Ridge Farm on their home court.

"They've got some quickness. That's why we are trying to use our transition game and push the basketball," said head coach Kiel Duval. "Even our bigs can run. We don't have a slow guy on the team."

Leading the team with eight points at the half, Izard added another 11 to finish the night with a game-high 19 points.

"He did what we expect him to do," Duval said. "The things we're pushing Chance to do, push the basketball, move without the basketball ... he did a lot of those things. We've continually pushed him every day in practice."

Izard did not want to take full credit for his performance that puts his team with on the floor tonight in their second tournament game against La Salette at 8 pm with a 1-0 record.

"I've got to give a lot of credit to my teammates. They did a great job of keeping the pressure off me," he said. "We struggled at rebounding in the beginning. But, we picked it up in the second half and that created a lot of opportunities for me to get some buckets in."

Jordan Kelly, who was shot 50% from the free throw line, also drained a few buckets. The senior came off the bench to start his senior season with 12 points, all lighting up the scoreboard in the second half.

Leading by as much as 28 points in the fourth quarter, Duval rotated players in and out liberally.

Luke Renfew scrambles for a loose ball
Luke Renfew goes after a loose ball after instigating a turnover. The senior was essential player on defense. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

There are fifteen players on the Spartans roster this season. Ten of them contributed to their win over the Buffaloes.

Cain finished with eight points, Pence added seven in varsity debut and Luke Renfew chipped drain six in the opening half. Renfew's offensive put back in the first frame handed SJO a 5-4 lead from which the team never looked back.

One of four underclassmen on the roster, Pence said he tense before the start of the game.

"The hard part was adapting to the speed of the game," Pence said. "Before the game I was really nervous. The guys helped me out and helped me get into the flow of the game."

The Georgetown-Ridge Farm offense was led by Kaden Mingee with 15 points and ten points from Cale Steinbaugh.

The Buffaloes look to pick up a win over Schlarman in the second of three games on tap at St. Joseph-Ogden High School tonight.

Box Score
St. Joseph-Ogden 7 14 22 22 - 65
Georgetown-Ridge Farm 4 7 11 15 - 37

St. Joseph-Ogden: Conner Hodge 2, Lukas Hutcherson 3, Payton Cain 8, Jordan Kelly 12, Chance Izard 19, Andrew Beyers 2, Ty Pence 7, Luke Renfrew 6, Braydon Rupert 2 and Hayden Brazelton 4.

Georgetown-Ridge Farm: Hayden Stal 2, Cale Steinbaugh 10, Kaden Mingee 15, Gavan Shelton 3, Jeremiah Smith 4 and Justice Arthur 1.

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