Benton helps Toronto top Edison, 49-41 | News, Sports, Jobs – The Daily Times

TORONTO — Cayden Benton made an impact on both ends of the floor.

The Toronto boys basketball team led by 10 in the waning seconds of the second quarter, however, Edison chipped away at its deficit and the Wildcats pulled to within a point with 5:18 left to play in the fourth quarter. Then trailing by two, Edison had an opportunity to tie the score, however, Benton blocked the attempted layup, and hosts went down and scored to regain the momentum as the Red Knights pulled away for a 49-41 victory Tuesday night inside the George J. Kunzler Memorial Gymnasium.

Benton netted a game-high 18 points to lead the way offensively for the Red Knights.

“Our guys have been extremely devoted to playing good defense the last four or five games,” Toronto (9-7) head coach Sean Tucker said. “To be able to hold Edison with its size and scoring capabilities to 14 points in the first half says a lot about our defense. They are very tough to defend. They have so many weapons.

“I am extremely proud of the way our guys played in the first half. We were very disciplined especially on defense. Offensively, we stuck to the game plan. We did not rely on the outside shot. We have worked on playing within the team.

“We did an excellent job in all areas of the game in the first half.”

The visitors closed to within 35-34 with 5:18 remaining to be played in the game, and Benton’s block came with the hosts holding a 38-36 lead.

“We could not get over that hump,” Edison (4-12) head coach Jeremy Matics said. “We picked it up defensively, and we were able to get some easy offense out in transition. Toronto did a good job of taking us out of our game plan there.”

Following the block, the hosts extended their advantage back out to eight points. Edison answered with a 3-pointer to pull back within five points, however, Toronto hit some foul shots down the stretch to secure the victory.

“We were getting shots up, but they just weren’t falling,” Matics said. “We have been getting a lot of shots up in practice. Hopefully, we follow the same routine and the shots fall come tournament time.”

Trailing 22-14 at halftime, the Wildcats outscored the Red Knights, 15-11, in the third to close the gap to 33-29 entering the fourth. Edison scored five of the first seven points of the quarter to close to 35-34 with 5:18 remaining to be played.

“What happened was Edison was able to speed us up,” Tucker said. “Edison did a good job of extending their 2-3 zone. They were able to speed us up, and we didn’t have the spacing and we didn’t come to the ball like we should have. That is something we are going to have to work on.

“We stayed focused. We told the kids that they are going to go make a run. We knew they were going to go on runs.

“We made some adjustments at halftime. If they were going to run, we were going to attack the middle of the floor. We did not settle for the outside shot. We did not settle for shots.

“They had some shots not fall, and we were able to creep the lead back up.

“They had a great game plan. Jeremy does a great job with everything he does.”

Kam Baker also recorded 15 points to help the Toronto cause. Baker and Benton evenly split all 14 of the Red Knights’ points in the second stanza.

Brayden Moses delivered a team-high 11 points to lead the way offensively for the Wildcats, while Avante’ Hayes tallied nine.

The victory enabled Toronto to sweep the season series from its Jefferson County rivals. The Red Knights defeated the Wildcats, 58-34, Dec. 9 out at Edison’s new fieldhouse.

The second meeting was a much closer affair.

“Absolutely,” Tucker said. “When we played them out there, they didn’t have Hunter Rothacker, Gage Cline and Luke Taylor,” Tucker said. “Tonight, they were at full power.

“We discussed the little things that we were going to need to do. We wanted to keep Hunter and Gage off the boards. We wanted to keep them away from the rim. We did a fantastic job. When you hold Hunter to four points and Gage to seven, that shows how dedicated to defense we were, and it says a lot about our defense.

“Edison has good athletes. They have got some good basketball players. They have some outside shooters. We did a good job on defense tonight. We got out on their shooters, and we made them shoot it off the dribble.

“Brayden Moses has been playing basketball since he was born. He can run. He can shoot. He can hurt you in many different ways. The good thing is he is a senior, so I won’t have to play against him anymore.”

Toronto led 50-23 after three quarters in the first meeting.

“We played a lot harder tonight,” Matics said. “The kids are buying in.

“Hats off to Toronto. Coach Tucker is a great coach. He always has his teams well prepared.

“We just fell a little short tonight.”

The score was knotted at eight entering the second.

“The kids have played together,” Matics said. “We had a lot of injuries and adversity early on in the season. The kids are playing together. They are buying in. We are in good shape going into the end of the year.”

Both teams made 11 two-point field goals and four 3-pointers. The difference came at the free-throw line where Toronto converted 15-of-25 attempts from the charity stripe, while Edison made 7-of-11 shots from the line.

“We talk about free throws,” Tucker said. “A couple of times our free throws have hurt us. Tonight, we shot the ball better. We shot it rather well, but we were not great by any means.

“We were 15-of-25. We made seven and took 15 in the fourth quarter. We were 7-o-f-15 on free throws in the fourth quarter. That is something we are not OK with.

“We are going to practice them tomorrow. We are going to take them more seriously.”

Both teams are scheduled to return to the court Friday night.

Edison is slated to play Conotton Valley at home. The JV game is set to start at 5:30 p.m. The Wildcats will be looking to gain a measure of revenge as the Rockets came away with a 55-54 victory Dec. 16 on their home court.

Edison is also scheduled to take on St. Clairsville in the Buckeye 8 Tournament at 10 a.m. Saturday down at Bellaire.

Meanwhile, Toronto will play Bridgeport on the road. That JV game will tip off at 6 p.m. The Red Knights will be going for the season sweep against the Bulldogs as they defeated the boys from Belmont County, 64-42, Nov. 23 at home.

Toronto 49, Edison 41

Edison 8 6 15 12 – 41

Toronto 8 14 11 16 – 49

EDISON (4-12): Taylor 2 3-4 7, Hayes 4 0-0 9, Rawson 1 0-0 3, Moses 4 1-3 11, Cline 2 3-4 7, Jones 0 0-0 0, Rothacker 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 15 7-11 41.

TORONTO (9-7): Marchbank 2 0-2 4, Dickinson 2 3-4 8, Karaffa 1 1-4 4, Baker 5 2-3 15, Ensell 0 0-0 0, Close 0 0-2 0, Grimes 0 0-0 0, Benton 5 8-10 18. TOTALS: 15 15-25 49.

3-POINTERS: Edison 4 (Moses 2, Hayes, Rawson); Toronto 4 (Baker, Dickinson, Karaffa)

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