ALBIA — Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont head boys basketball coach Travis Stout knew they would have to contain Albia's scoring leader, Drew Chance, in the South Central Conference opener for both teams Friday night.
"In the second half, we played a couple of different defenses because we knew we had to contain Drew," noted Stout.
The Rockets were able to hold off Chance and the Blue Demons in the second half, holding to Albia to just eight points in the third quarter of a 57-50 season-opening victory over the two-time SCC champion Blue Demons. Carson Wade would score seven points during the quarter as the Rockets outscored Albia, 15-8, to open a 39-34 lead.
Chance would put the first points on the scoreboard, hitting a 3-pointer a minute into the contest for the Blue Demons. The teams exchanged baskets during the first quarter with Chance twisting and spinning down the middle of the paint at the buzzer to hit a lay-up as the period ended, cutting EBF's lead to 16-14.
The second quarter would see the momentum swing to the Blue Demons, opening the quarter with six consecutive points. C.J. Ratliff scored on a breakaway layup to give Albia the lead before a soft hook shot by Jackson Pence highlighted a six-point period for the Blue Demon junior as Albia took a 26-24 lead into the locker room.
Brooks Moore would set the tone for EBF in the second half with a power dunk to emphatically erase Albia's slim halftime lead third quarter. The Blue Demons struggled to get the offense going out of the intermission, failing to score for over four minutes as the Rockets scored the first eight points of the third quarter.
"We have to fix some things offensively," noted Blue Demon head coach Kevin Archer.
Seven points by Ratliff was not enough to offset an 18-point offensive performance by the visitors in the final frame. EBF held off the Blue Demons down the stretch to clinch the impressive victory.
"I loved the way we finished," assessed Stout. "We got the defensive stops we needed, and we were good in the transition game."
Each team finished with three players in double figures in the scoring column. Chance led all score's with 19 points for Albia, followed by Ratliff with 14 and Jackson Pence with 13.
Chance led the Albia in rebounds with 11, followed by Pence with nine. Ethan Davis led a balanced scoring effort for EBF with 17 points, followed by Wade with 15 and Moore with 13.
Both Albia and EBF will continue SCC play on Tuesday on the road. The Blue Demons will head to the Charger Dome in Lucas County to face Chariton while the Rockets travel to Bloomfield to take on Davis County.
"We will have to deal with Davis County's Dalton Reeves," Stout said of the Mustang senior, who scored a team-leading 17 points in a 58-49 season-opening win Friday at Centerville. "He's a kid who can hit the 3."