Boys Basketball: Darrin Myers sparks Minooka to victory over Oswego
Minooka’s Darrin Myers was notably motivated to play at Oswego on Friday night.
The junior was teammates with Oswego starters Miles Simelton and Elliot McGaughy during the summer. Myers certainly had the last laugh, scoring 21 points to lead the Indians to a 75-70 victory in Southwest Prairie Conference action.
“I have been pumped for this game since our last game (Dec. 29),” Myers said. “Knowing I’d be playing against a couple old teammates, this was a big game for me. I had to show up.”
Myers, who scored 5 of his 21 points in the final 1:25, more than showed up, as he was the leader of Minooka’s offense, distributing the ball to his teammates and attacking the basket, which resulted in a 9-of-14 performance at the free throw line.
“He was just completely in control of the game tonight,” Oswego coach Kevin Schnable said. “They’re good and they can score in a variety of ways.”
Oswego (6-6, 2-2) took a 27-19 lead with 6:07 left in the second quarter, but the Indians didn’t panic, and ultimately closed the quarter on a 7-0 run in the final 1:50 to take a 41-35 lead at halftime.
“As you could tell, I didn’t call any timeouts because our kids do a great job of keeping composed,” Minooka coach Scott Tanaka said. “We pride ourselves on our defense, but we changed how we played and unfortunately we ended up giving up 70 points because usually it’s 40 to 50.”
Minooka (9-4, 3-1) allowed the Panthers to claw their way back to within two points twice in the second half, the final time coming on a pair of free throws from Ryan West (23 points, 12 rebounds) that made it 52-50.
“He probably had his best game of the season,” Schnable said. “The guys did a lot of good things, especially with the way that Miles (Simelton) and Elliot (McGaughy) were attacking and not settling for outside shots.”
The Indians pulled ahead by double digits at 66-54 with 5:23 left in the game when Ben Heide connected on back-to-back three-pointers. They were just his second and third field goals of the contest.
“He is too good of a shooter to hold caged an entire game,” Tanaka said. “All the kids have bought into their roles and we have a lot of guys who can put it in the basket.”
Heide was one of five Indians to score nine or more points. He finished with 12, Lavell Dean had 13 and Adam Holstine and Jacob Hogen each added 9 points.
Despite falling behind by 12 points midway through the final quarter, the Panthers found a way to fight back, pulling to within 69-66 with under a minute left, but they wouldn’t get any closer.
“It was a great game,” Schnable said. “We just need to get better and more consistent on defense. We struggled with our ball screen defense tonight and missed some assignments on shooters.”
McGaughy lived up to the meeting against Myers, leading all scorers with 24 points. He also had 8 rebounds. Simelton chipped in with 12 points. Oswego converted 16-of-17 free throws.