GALION— This time around, the Crawford County rivalry belongs to Galion.
The Tigers (4-13, 2-9 Mid Ohio Athletic Conference) defeated Bucyrus 71-63, thanks to a huge game from sophomore Cooper Kent. Kent scored the second most points by a sophomore in school history, with 30 points on the evening.
“A phenomenal job. That kid came ready to play. He’s been getting better every game, I’m proud of that kid,” Galion head coach Ryan Stover said following the game.
Hudson Miller pitched in 10 points, while Jaxon Oswald and Rece Payne each added nine points for the Tigers. Steven Glew scored eight points for Galion.
Bucyrus (3-14 1-11 Northern 10) was led by Malachi Bayless, who scored a team-high 22 points. Mike Wise added 13 points for the Redmen.
Redmen jumped out to a quick start by knocking down four three-pointers in the opening quarter. Bucyrus led Galion 21-14 after a quarter of play. Wise scored 10 points for the Redmen in the first eight minutes of play.
Wise would add just three points the rest of the way. Galion’s head coach knew exactly what he had to do to slow down the Bucyrus scorer.
“I put Hudson on him, I think Hudson is our best defender. He’s playing really well defensively right now,” Stover said.
Galion was able to weather the storm a bit and get the offense going in the second quarter. Payne scored three baskets for six points to get the Tigers going. At halftime Bucyrus held onto a 34-30 lead.
Rager scored nine first half points for Bucyrus. Kent led Galion with eight points in the first half.
In the third quarter each team would trade basket for basket. With a quarter to play Bucyrus led 53-51. Hamm led Bucyrus with nine in the quarter, thanks to a lot of put-back looks.
“We picked up our intensity, we were a little flat to start. We played a much better defensive game in the second half,” Stover stated.
Tigers took their first lead of the game with 6:48 remaining. Payne stole a pass, which led to Miller free-throws on the other end. Galion took a 55-53 lead on the second make.
The pace of the game slowed down and the Tigers were able to outscore the Redmen 20-10, in the final quarter. Kent scored 13 points in the final eight minutes.
“Kid can shoot. He (Kent) can play. He’s a sophomore and he’s went through his battle scars. In a rivalry game he showed up and played very well,” Stover said.
Galion will have a matchup with Pleasant on Friday, Feb. 14. The Tigers will play River Valley and Buckeye Central on back-to-back nights next week.
Bucyrus will take on Buckeye Central in Northern 10 play on Friday.