It’s always been said that “defense wins championships” because having a great defense can give the offense more chances to score. Saturday night at Randolph high school proved to be the case.
Cardinals head coach Kevin Hind loved the effort from his players, especially on the defensive side of the ball and it’s why they have been successful this year.
“Just loved our effort, our effort was outstanding,” Hind said. “Defensively, I thought we were great and that was certainly the difference in this game.”
The Randolph Cardinals came into this game on a 10-game winning streak while the Allegany-Limestone Gators won their last nine games. The two squads also came in unbeaten against Section VI teams and are undefeated since the new year kicked off.
Once tip off got started, the Gators worked hard and the effort was there, but struggled in the first quarter. The Cardinals found ways to make the Gators commit turnovers and offensive fouls. This led to them putting points on the board and starting off the game up 11-3; they went on to end the quarter up 14-7.
Defense and rebounding in the second quarter was strong coming from the Cardinals as they denied the Gators inside shots and second chance buckets. Buckets from Tyler Hind, Ashton Bushey and Ty Rosengren helped their squad extend the lead up to double digits. Eventually finishing the first half on a high note up 31-17.
Randolph’s Kaleb Steward kept the consistency of the defense going by starting off the second half with two steals which led to four points. Steward would have nine points in the third quarter and Hind’s five points pushed the team’s lead, heading into the fourth quarter up on Allegany-Limestone 44-24.
The Gators spent the final eight minutes cutting down the lead, but in the end it wasn’t enough to mount a comeback. Randolph went on to win by a final score of 51-41, ending the Gators nine-game winning streak.
Hind reiterated how he has coached hard-working teams and this one he has now is up there with teams in the past.
“I’ve had a lot of really hard-working teams in the past, but this team right here,” explained Hind. “I’ve got nine guys that can play and they know if they’re not giving me a hundred percent effort, that they’re probably coming out. So, it’s effort and they give me effort. I’ve got guys off the bench that can start on a lot of teams and they just come in and play hard. Our goal is to make it difficult for teams.
Tyler Hind, who owns the record for the most career three-pointers in Section VI, extended it after hitting multiple shots beyond the arc, finishing the game with 22 points and eight rebounds plus five assists.
Bushey knocked in 10 points, including eight rebounds to credit his defensive performance. He’s not one of the main scorers on the squad but proved that he can be a threat when he shoots.
“I saw him run the floor, he got a fast break layup or two that I haven’t seen much of this year,” Hind said. “He was playing with confidence, stroking down shots. I bring back six or seven guys that all played last year and Ashton, off the J.V. group, grew four inches in a year and has stepped into that starting role.”
With this win, Randolph now extends their winning streak to 11 and are sit at 13-1 on the season. Monday, February 3rd, will see them travel to Gowanda high school to take on the Panthers.
Allegany-Limestone sits at 13-3 overall and will go to Olean Monday night to take on the Huskies.