Daniel Boone’s Dan Downs (12) grabs a rebound and looks for an outlet during the first quarter against Pottsgrove in a non-league game Thursday.
Daniel Boone's Dan Downs (12) grabs a rebound and looks for an outlet during the first quarter against Pottsgrove in a non-league game Thursday. (Photo by John Strickler/The Mercury)

UNION — According to Daniel Boone senior center Dan Downs, the mantra of the Blazers boys basketball team is "never look back.'

Which is a good thing, since Boone's previous game had been a gut-wrenching, come-from-ahead, one-point loss to Lancaster Mennonite.

Thursday night, however, the Blazers made sure their focus stayed in the moment during their non-league contest against visiting Pottsgrove.

Did they ever.

With Downs doing the damage inside to the tune of 13 points and six rebounds, Steve Sievers sniping away for 12 points (including three 3-pointers) and a bevy of bench talent seeing action in a 10-deep rotation, Daniel Boone cruised to a 59-36 victory.

Pottsgrove’s Marquis Barefield (5) drives the lane against Daniel Boone defenders Cedric Mann (15) and Stephon Williams (23) in the second quarter
Pottsgrove's Marquis Barefield (5) drives the lane against Daniel Boone defenders Cedric Mann (15) and Stephon Williams (23) in the second quarter Thursday. (John Strickler/The Mercury)

"One of our main goals is to play as a team,' said the 6-foot-5 Downs. "Tonight we played really good and smart team basketball.'

"The last time we took this court, we walked off on a buzzer-beater loss,' Boone coach Ian Gendreau said of Saturday's 51-50 loss to Mennonite, in which the Blazers squandered a four-point lead over the final 20 seconds. "We were anxious to get back on it and get focused. Part of our problem last year was consistency, so coming out ready to play was definitely tops on the board in the locker room before the game.'

Pottsgrove took its only lead at 6-5 on a 3-pointer by Anthony Hedgepeth with 2:50 left in the first quarter, but the Blazers (2-1) answered with a seven-point spurt kick-started by Paul Galanti's trey to take a 12-6 lead after a quarter.

After Marquis Barfield canned two foul shots to get the Falcons (0-3) within four 15 seconds into the second period, Boone went on a 14-point tear that saw scoring contributions from Kenny Worthington, Cedric Mann, Sievers, Keyon McCutchen and Downs.

"Part of our strength this year is our depth,' Gendreau said. "We have size on the bench, point guards on the bench and guys that can shoot on the bench, so we kind of have a place to go on the bench in all three areas.'

Daniel Boone’s Keyon McCutchen drives to the hoop against the defense of Pottsgrove’s Marshon Rose during Thursday’s non-league
Daniel Boone's Keyon McCutchen drives to the hoop against the defense of Pottsgrove's Marshon Rose during Thursday's non-league basketball game. (John Strickler/The Mercury)

Pottsgrove coach Scott Palladino, meanwhile, couldn't find the right combination as the Falcons shot just 4-for-21 in falling behind 33-12 by intermission.

"We didn't play well tonight,' Palladino said. "We didn't execute on the offensive end, we didn't rebound and we didn't defend.

"We were competitive in the first quarter, but they hit a couple shots in the corner and it kind of snowballed on us in the second quarter. They knocked down shots, and we didn't execute.'

Downs, who finished 5-for-5 from the floor, had 11 of his points in the first half and went 3-for-4 from the foul line.

"My role is to rebound, box out, finish and score when I get the opportunity, and play good defense,' Downs said. "I feel that's everyone's role, to play good defense. If we can do that, we can play with anybody.'

Worthington scored 10 points for the Blazers, who continued their onslaught in the second half by extending the lead as high as 53-17 on Mann's inside basket to open the fourth quarter.

Tyrone Parker led Pottsgrove with nine points and seven rebounds.

Mann finished with eight points and six boards to help Boone to a 33-24 advantage on the glass.

"We were a little sloppier than I'd like us to be,' said Gendreau, whose squad turned it over eight times in the fourth quarter, "but we have some really huge upside because of our depth and quality of players coming off our bench.

"It's just a matter of getting all the mouths fed. We're mixing in a lot of different combinations, and once we get that together, I think we can be a tough team to beat.'

"Last year we were up and down a lot, and we lost to a couple teams we shouldn't have,' Downs said. "This year we're focusing on practicing better and being more consistent, and we're looking to be a dangerous team later on.'

 

NOTES

The Blazers' convincing win was tempered by the loss of guard Stephon Williams, who went down after twisting his knee in the third quarter, didn't return and was on crutches after the game. Gendreau said Williams will be re-examined Friday. ... Daniel Boone faces Boyertown in a non-league clash of area squads Saturday before opening Berks Conference Division 1 play Tuesday against Muhlenberg. ... Pottsgrove opens PAC-10 play Friday against Upper Perkiomen.

Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.