Tiger win as easy as 1-3-1
By Hub City Times staff
STRATFORD – The Stratford Tigers used a stifling zone defense in the second half to erase a 16-point deficit and defeat the Marathon Red Raiders 63-51 on Dec. 17 at Stratford High School. With the Tigers trailing 31-18 at halftime, Stratford Head Coach Curt Schmidt applied a 1-3-1 zone defense in the second half, which led to a 45-20 run to come from behind and win the game.
“We’re struggling offensively with our timing,” Schmidt said after the win. “It’s not that we’re not shooting well, but you could see their game plan was to double team (Ben) Barten. Dawson (Danen) had to step up, and I thought Dawson did a good job. He’s doing what Vaughn (Breit) would normally be doing. But obviously our defense was the key in the second half.
I don’t usually run 1-3-1 against Marathon because they’re so good at running it themselves, and usually when you’re good at running something like that, you can crack the code quicker than most people because you know the weaknesses of it.
They were holding the ball for long possessions out of man-to-man, and we knew that we couldn’t just man-trap them. We had to get them uncomfortable. We had to get them standing a little bit more. And of course, some of their guards aren’t real tall on top, so we were hoping that they would end up being on top, and just being indecisive and faking a lot.
And they were missing people open, but they were being very robotic and trying not to turn the ball over. That helped us get the defense rotated. And we had our hands very, very active, so we were able to get deflections, and of course what that does is that creates easy opportunities in transition, and our offense was created by the 1-3-1.”
Marathon built their lead to 45-30 during the opening minutes of the second half, but Stratford used a 33-6 run from that point forward to win the game by 12.
Danen led Stratford with 21 points.
“Right away, he seemed to be overwhelmed with the pressure,” Schmidt added. “In the second half, he just took off. He did a beautiful job of mirroring the ball and getting deflections, and then finishing. And then he hit some free throws, and he hit that big ‘three’ when we needed it. He’s also a very smart kid, so he can play anywhere. Now remember he’s playing out of position the first three games. He’s playing Vaughn’s position. We have that as a particular thing that we do. So he’s not getting a lot of perimeter play. But you need adversity to grow, and this one definitely is going to make us grow.”
Barten added a double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Chandler Schmidt scored 11 points and also grabbed six rebounds and five steals. Teddy Redman had 10 points and six steals.
The Tigers improved to 3-0 with the win. After hosting the Stratford Tournament Dec. 27-28, the Tigers host Auburndale Jan. 3, followed by a non-conference road trip to Owen-Withee on Jan. 7.