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  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Angola junior Dyer Ball has the ball knocked away from him by a Woodlan defender while driving to the basket in the third quarter Tuesday at Woodburn. Ball scored 10 in the Hornets' victory.  

Wednesday, December 05, 2018 1:00 am

Angola 48 Woodlan 41

Hornets respond after Warriors draw even

VICTORIA JACOBSEN | The Journal Gazette

WOODBURN – Angola coach Ed Bentley said his teams have a “mental toughness light” that flips on at some point in each season. 

That light may not be burning quite yet, but it flickered on Tuesday night as the visiting Hornets held on to beat Woodlan 48-41 and improve to 2-1.

Angola had a modest lead for much of the game, but Woodlan (1-4, 0-1 ACAC) climbed back into the game late in the third quarter and finally tied the game at 39 with 3:18 remaining in the fourth quarter. 

Joel Knox scored to put the Hornets up by two and Angola made seven of eight free throws in the final minutes.

“It's kind of like life; you make mistakes, but how do you respond to it?” Bentley said. “To get us into that spot, we took some bad shots and we turned it over. I always say, don't go away from the things that got you to the point you are, and most teams actually kind of go away from it. They lose sight of what's made them successful. So we had a heart-to-heart and said, 'get back to what we do, move the ball a little better and trust what we do. And that will be good enough.'”

Woodlan struggled to stop Angola's Luke Honer under the basket. He led the Hornets with 13 points, all in the first three quarters. Blake Pocock hit three of eight 3-pointers and finished with 12 points. Dyer Ball scored 10. 

“I thought our bigs got better,” Bentley said. “Obviously Dyer Ball and Luke Honer got better. They're a huge part of what we do because they can open up the outside for our guys.”

While Bentley felt that his Hornets took some bad shots in the second half, the Warriors were even colder shooting from outside, missing all but two of their 11 shots from behind the arc. Joe Reidy, a 6-foot-5 freshman, led Woodlan with 15 points. Mitch Mendenhall, who tipped in a layup in the final seconds of the first half to go into the break down 23-18, scored 11 for the Warriors. 

“Woodlan did a really good job of keeping the ball high on us,” Bentley said. “Usually our help-side defense is able to stack up, but when they go high we had to make an adjustment in the second half to drop a guy, which we usually don't do.”

The Hornets were coming off a 48-45 loss to Central Noble in their NECC opener. 

“A really good takeaway is that we went 11 for 25 Friday night against Central Noble from the free throw line, and lost by three; we went 14 for 16 tonight, so that was a plus,” Bentley said. “I'm glad the guys hit those shots.”

Bentley said several of his players are still settling in to basketball shape after making it to regionals with the football team, but he was happy to clinch the team's first road win. 

“I'm always questioning their physical and mental toughness, and we're always pushing them to limits they don't think they can get to,” Bentley said. “I thought we did a really good job of responding, and that's the first step to where we want to be in sectionals in a couple months.”

vjacobsen@jg.net