By Jake Thompson
DANVILLE — As opening boys’ basketball games go, Danville’s effort Wednesday night could not have gone much better.
The Warriors outhustled, outworked and simply outplayed the visiting Indianapolis Manual Redskins to the tune of an 87-39 victory.
“I really liked our effort and we brought really good energy all game,” Danville coach Brian Barber said. “I thought our guys did a good job coming out and establishing what we wanted to do which was press, play up tempo and play aggressive defense. We played with a lot of energy and that’s how you get better as the year goes on.”
Led by the scoring of seniors Avery Motes and Ian Asher, Danville jumped on top of the visiting Redskins with an 11-2 run and never looked back. Motes finished with 25 while Asher added 21.
“I thought he did a good job not forcing things tonight,” Barber said of Motes. “Now, with a guy like Ian handling the ball, it will give him some better looks coming off screens and doing some more things away from the ball that he is very good at.”
Asher, a transfer from Covenant Christian adds another dimension to the Warriors’ offense this season both with his ability to score, but more importantly his distribution of the ball. Asher made several slick passes to open teammates while drawing defenders off penetration.
“Last year Avery was probably the only true playmaker we had and this season Ian gives us a second,” Barber said. “He can shoot it outside or drive to the hole. He has great savvy and threaded the needle on some passes. We told our big guys that if they run the floor, he will see them and get them the ball.”
Also impressive for the Warriors was their relentless defensive pressure. Manual had great difficulty bringing the ball up the court, getting into an offensive set and putting up shots.
“That’s our goal for the year and we want our defense to be our best offense,” Barber said. “We want to create some turnovers and opportunities with our defense and feel we have a lot of quickness. We are deep and feel we can use that to our advantage.”
Scott Amor led the Warriors in steals and his defensive presence, along with the rest of Danville’s efforts, frustrated the Redskins into 36 turnovers.
The Warriors led 45-21 at the half and rolled through the final two periods, giving their bench some serious experience early in the year. Nearly all of Danville’s players scored.
DJ Shipley (4), B’ster Detty (2), Mitchell Collier (6), Jackson Stone (9), and Shawn Weir (2) all saw significant playing time. Stone led the Warriors with nine rebounds.
Starters Motes, Asher, Amor (11), CJ Just (5) and Tyler Ross (2) made up the rest of Danville’s scoring. That group headed to the bench for parts of the third quarter and a large majority of the fourth period.
As well as the Warriors played on both side of the court; they had problems from the free throw line. Danville finished the night shooting 15 of 28 from the charity stripe.
“We will be harping about that,” Barber said. “That is a concentration thing and with the speed we were going it is hard to simulate in practice. We should be better than that.”
Danville now looks ahead to host South Putnam (1-0) at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 27.
“It’s only one game, but I like where our groups at,” Barber said. “We have a long road ahead of us and another challenge Tuesday.”