BY J. PATRICK EAKEN | MIRROR SPORTS — Six-foot Anthony Wayne senior guard Kyle Ray put on a shooting clinic in the Generals’ 61-47 non-league victory over Fremont Ross last Saturday.
It was the Generals’ home opener at the Dick Albaugh Physical Education and Athletic Center, so why not?
Ray hit four 3-point goals, including three straight in the third quarter on his way to a team-high 18 points.
He hit one from 23 feet with five minutes left in the third and his team leading 30-25. On AW’s next possession, Ray stepped back to 24 feet, putting the Generals up 36-25.
After Ross senior guard Ben Gedeon hit two free throws, Ray did it again, hitting another “nothing but net” shot from behind the arc, propelling his team to a 39-27 lead.
The display was part of a 21-point third quarter for AW, and it played into a 50-percent shooting night from the field by the Generals as a team.
“Tonight, it was Kyle Ray,” said AW coach Josh Arthur. “He was playing pretty well for us.”
It was the best way to attack the Little Giants’ zone defense – either hit the gaps or shoot from behind the arc. The Generals did some of both.
“We worked really hard at execution, but we didn’t do a really great job in the beginning, but we did a good job at the end,” Arthur said.
“They play a 2-3 zone and do a nice job at it. It took a little bit to get used to. We haven’t seen a lot of 2-3 zone at this point, but Kyle helps us by stepping out and hitting threes. I think (junior guard) Dom (Debo) also hit three threes for us.
“That was big for us to have guys step up like that with so few full practices we’ve had in.”
AW moved to 2-0 with the victory, while Ross fell to 2-2.
“We’re 2-0 – it’s the best feeling,” Ray said. “We started out the season well. We had a tough game at Bowling Green yesterday – it was a really hard and a tough environment to play in.
“But tonight, we finally got a home game. We played well at home. Fremont came out in a 2-3 zone, but we made some shots – a credit to my teammates.”
AW senior guard Zac Szul also hit a three, but he was mostly the guy hitting the gaps, scoring 15 points to go with his seven rebounds and three steals.
Debo scored nine on all treys, senior forward Bryce Boyer had five points and five rebounds and junior forward Evan Ruhe and senior forward Nick Huffman contributed four points each.
Senior guard Ben Wyrick also hit a first-quarter shot from behind the arc to account for his three points, plus he had two steals, and junior guard Garret Pike also scored three.
Sophomore guard Jacob Copley did not score, but he contributed on defense with two steals.
AW finished the game with 10 turnovers and made 4-of-7 from the foul line. The Generals outrebounded Ross 30-25.
The Little Giants committed 14 turnovers, hit 15-of-41 field goals and were 8-for-14 from the line.
Gedeon led Ross with 13 points and eight rebounds and junior guard Mikey Lather added 13 points.
Senior forward Connor Malan scored five, freshman guard Kaden Holmes added four and junior guard Jared Adkins and sophomore forward Kurt Harrison scored three apiece.
AW now heads back into Northern Lakes League action this Friday at Springfield, which is 2-0 after defeating Bowsher, 74-64, and defending NLL champion Northview, 64-61.
“The second week in, Springfield has a couple new guys. They are playing well,” Ray said. “They beat Northview, so we are going to go get a good week of practice in and get ready for them.”
Arthur says his team showed improvement against Ross from the night before against BG and as long as they do that, the Generals should be in good shape.
“We were better in the first half tonight than we were last night and hopefully we are going to be better in the first half next week than we are tonight and even better in the second half,” Arthur said.
“Springfield is going to be a tough basketball game. They are a very good basketball team. I think they are kind of underrated, so we’re going to be prepared for them and we’re going to watch them a lot.”