Barnes explodes in second half as Dragons beat Fort LeBoeuf
The recent success of the Warren Dragons has coincided with their ability to step on their opponent’s throat late in games.
While Saturday’s 52-51 loss to DuBois was a minor setback in that department, they were able right themselves on Tuesday against Fort LeBoeuf.
Payton Barnes scored 16 of his varsity career-high 19 points in the second half and the Dragons went on a 13-1 run to close out a big Region 6 win, 55-48.
“I told the kids it doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be effective,” said Warren coach Jeff Berdine of his team, which has won five of six. “It was a physical game.”
Trailing 39-38, Ben Berdine knocked down a jumper to put the Dragons up 1 with 1:25 to play in the third.
After a LeBoeuf miss, the Bison went into a zone defense and allowed Warren (7-5 overall, 3-2 Region 6) to hold the ball for the last shot. Tyler Gustafson made them pay, drilling a jumper with three seconds left to make it 42-39.
“That was a big shot,” coach Berdine said.
Those two shots were the start of the run, as the Dragons held LeBoeuf to one point over a 9-minute span.
In the meantime, Barnes went off.
His 3 off a set inbounds play early in the fourth put the Dragons up 45-39, and his jumper with just 1:07 made it 51-40.
He had nine points in the fourth quarter, and LeBoeuf managed just a Max Endres free throw in the period until Joe Riley knocked down a 3 with a minute remaining.
By then, however, the Dragons were firmly in command.
“Payton had a huge second half,” coach Berdine said. “That kept us afloat.”
Warren got off to a hot start early that was spearheaded by their first defensive possession of the game.
“We’ve been setting the tempo with our defense in terms of making the other team work,” coach Berdine noted. “They’re going to have to work to get buckets. They’re not going to get easy hoops. The first possession was huge. They had the ball for 20 seconds and we forced a turnover. That was big in terms of establishing defensive tempo. We had to make it difficult for them and we did.”
LeBoeuf kept within striking distance, however, thanks to Brandon Drayer, who scored nine of his 12 points in the first half.
“I thought Mitchell (Grosch) did a good job in the second half with him (Drayer),” coach Berdine said.
The two teams traded the lead back-and-forth in the second quarter, but a Ryan Rafalski 3 helped the Dragons take a 27-23 halftime lead.
“(Nick) Dooley and (Ben) Turi made a couple of 3’s that were big hoops for them to help get them back in it,” noted Berdine.
Tom Bablak, who had a relatively quiet offensive night by his standards with six points, did have three blocks and sank a pair of late free throws. Berdine had eight rebounds and three assists and Barnes seven rebounds and five assists to go with his 19 points.
Riley led LeBoeuf with 17 points.
The Dragons also won the JV game, 43-33, thanks in part to 15 points from Parks Ordiway and 12 from Bryce Blair.
“I’m happy with our intensity,” coach Berdine said.
The Dragons have another big region game on Friday, traveling to first-place Corry.
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FORT LEBOEUF (48)
Endres 1-2-4-4, Riley 7-0-0-17, Drayer 5-0-0-12, Turi 1-0-0-3, Black 1-2-4-4, Dooley 3-0-1-8, Richmond 0-0-0-0, Totals 18-4-9-48
Arnold 2-0-1-4, Berdine 6-0-0-12, Bablak 1-4-4-6, Grosch 2-0-1-4, Barnes 7-2-4-19, Gustafson 2-0-0-4, Rafalski 1-1-2-4, Swanson 1-0-0-2, Blair 0-0-0-0, Totals 22-7-12-55
Fort LeBoeuf 13 10 16 9 – 48
Warren 12 15 15 13 – 55
Three-point FGs: Fort LeBoeuf (8) – Riley 3, Dooley 2, Drayer 2, Turi; Warren (4) – Barnes 3, Rafalski
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FORT LEBOEUF (33)
Schofield 0-1-2-1, Goellner 3-0-0-8, Dine 0-0-0-0, Repine 0-0-0-0, Dooley 5-0-0-12, Gentile 1-0-2-2, Richmond 4-0-2-10, Totals 13-1-6-33
Ordiway 6-0-0-15, Borger 0-0-0-0, White 0-0-0-0, Rich 0-0-0-0, Lyon 0-0-0-0, Blum 2-2-4-7, McMeans 0-0-0-0, Vega 3-1-2-9, Arford 0-0-0-0, Blair 5-2-2-12, Darling 0-0-0-0, Greene 0-0-0-0, Totals 16-3-8-43
Fort LeBoeuf 11 8 6 8 – 33
Warren 10 9 10 14 – 43
Three-point FGs: Fort LeBoeuf (6) – Goellner 2, Dooley 2, Richmond 2; Warren (6) – Ordiway 3, Vega 2, Blum