Updated Mon, Mar 3, 2014 1:22 pm
Evan French had 63 postseason points, single-handedly dismantling Meigs and Athens entering Warren’s Division II district semifinals game against Circleville. It wasn’t French’s night in the Convocation Center, but his senior teammates picked up the slack leading the Warriors to a 57-52 win, advancing them to their second-straight district finals.
Reece Patton and Michael Hall took center stage for Warren lifting them over the Tigers and into a matchup with Logan Elm.
"We talk about ‘What if Evan’s not really hot’ what we’ve got to do and Reece stepped up and carried us a lot that first half and Michael helped us out in the second half," Warren head coach Blane Maddox said. "The other guys did their role and we beat a very solid Circleville that’s gotten better and better."
Circleville jumped out to a 18-5 lead to open the contest behind Michael Camp who started the game three-for-three from deep. Warren clawed back to make it 20-15 before the start of the second.
"I had them in a trap and they just busted it and found their scorers," Maddox said. "I had to come back with a very patient, deliberant offensive scheme and that takes a lot of energy for us to come back."
Although it wasn’t the 22-point second period performance he had against Athens, French began to heat up in the second quarter. He scored nine in the frame, including a three-pointer with 1:57 left in the half that gave the Warriors their first lead of the game.
But French never caught fire. The senior guard failed to hit a field goal the entire second half and finished with 16 points by adding five free throws the remainder of the way.
With their leader struggling from the floor, Patton and Hall took over for Maddox’s squad. With a 43-38 lead entering the fourth, Hall knocked down a deep three and Patton hit a deep jumper to give Warren breathing room. Patton led the Warriors on the night with 17 points and corralled in eight rebounds. Hall was one of three Warriors in double figures finishing with 11.
Circleville made it interesting late turning a Warren turnover into a David Burroughs lay-in to cut the lead to three. The ensuing foul to stop the clock put French at the line where he sunk both free throws to seal the win for Warren.
"He’s scored 14-hundred-plus points," Maddox said, "So we expect two at the free throw line in the last ten seconds."
Warren moves on to face Logan Elm who defeated Minford 57-46 in Friday's second Convo contest. Tip between the Warriors and Braves is set for 7:30 p.m. on March 8 from the Convocation Center.