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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Angola forward Braydon Hart scored 17 points to lead the Hornets past Woodlan during their sectional matchup Tuesday in New Haven.    

  • Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette Blackhawk Christian's Drake Thompson shoots past Logan Garton during practice Tuesday

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 1:00 am

Angola 55 Woodlan 41

Energetic Hornets take charge early in sectional

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

NEW HAVEN – Throughout the ups and downs of the regular season, the Angola boys basketball team has been nearly unstoppable when it brings energy and controls the game.

The Hornets proved that in a 55-41 win over Woodlan in the opening round of the Class 3A sectional Tuesday.

“We were able to get the ball inside and out and stopped them on the defensive end and take charges,” senior Braxton Meek said.

Angola (15-8) used a quick 6-0 run in the first quarter to take a 8-4 lead with 3 minutes left and led for the remainder of the game.

While the Woodlan (9-14) defense was focused on the Hornets' outside shooters for that first quarter, Braydon Hart was able to get inside and score 10 points in the period.

“Leadership, it really wasn't with his mouth, he wasn't saying anything, it was just his consistent play and not forcing shots,” coach Ed Bentley said of Hart. “We told him, 'If you're feeling it, let make sure we're still taking great shots,' and he absolutely did that.”

Another key in the first quarter was getting the Warriors' Ah'Lan Howard into foul trouble, forcing him to sit the bench for much of the first half.

The Hornets opened the second quarter on a 7-2 run to go up 19-12 and led 26-22 at halftime.

“It was really important to get some of their players out of the game so we could play our game,” Hart said. “We slowed them down, which is our game. A lot of the teams in the sectional don't play many teams that slow during the season.

“My teammates got me open. Everybody wants to be out on Braxton so the middle was wide open. The bigs, we just took advantage of that middle and kept scoring and scoring and scoring because they were out on our shooters.

“In the second and third quarters, they came down on the bigs, so we got it out to Braxton and he went for 16 points.”

Hart finished with 17 points and sophomore Dyer Ball added 12. Aaron Hahn led the Warriors with 10 points.

Next, the Hornets face host New Haven, a team they've become familiar with over the course of the last two sectionals.

Angola defeated the Bulldogs in 2016 for the sectional title and fell in last year's championship game.

The key, again, will be slowing the game down to play at a slower tempo, something that's proved to be an uncomfortable situation for other faster-paced teams.

“When we won it my sophomore year, we slowed it down and teams couldn't handle it. Hopefully we can do that again,” Hart said. “(We have to) handle their pressure. They're up on us all the time, we just have to play our game and slow them down.”

As with Tuesday's game against Woodlan, defense will be the key against New Haven.

“We finished second in the state in defense,” Bentley said. “I do think, offensively, we are not as skilled as some other teams.

“We have to be able to stop teams to stay in games. That's been part of our team since I've been here (since 2012).”

areichel@jg.net