By Matt Nestor
A big week for the Boylan Titans started with a rarity. As a result of games being canceled the previous Friday, Boylan had to travel to Guilford to take on a feisty Vikings team Tuesday night, Jan. 25.
The Titans were up to the challenge, overcoming a slow start to close the first half on an 8-0 run to a 12-point halftime lead on their way to a 66-53 victory.
Boylan (16-3, 8-2) was able to take advantage of their size, using a great high-low post game with Jason Painter and Armani Flannigan. Painter led all scorers with 16, while Flannigan had 15.
“When you do have an advantage, you want to utilize that advantage,” Boylan Head Coach Steve Goers said of his big men. “You want to go to your strengths. I was pleased that we did look inside. That is something that we are really focusing on.”
Another key factor was the play of point guard Chris Miller. While the Titans did possess size, the Vikings have a wave of quick guards. But Miller, who scored 14 points, was able to take care of the ball and work through the Guilford pressure.
“I thought Miller had a really good game,” Goers said of the senior. “He was the guy going coast-to-coast for us and did a lot of good things.”
After falling behind by 20 in the fourth quarter, Guilford (8-13, 4-6) did make a late run to cut the lead in half. Quavion Kimble scored 12 points, and Juwan Hubbard chipped in 11.
But the Titans were able to regain their composure and use their size to keep Guilford off the offensive glass to hold on for the win.
“They made a run on us late in the game, and to their credit, they never gave up,” Goers said. “I thought it was important for us to control the game and maintain our composure.”
After a loss to Auburn put the Titans two games behind the Knights for first, they kept their grip on second place in the NIC-10 with a 74-59 victory over Jefferson.
Despite a strong showing by Dez Agee of the J-Hawks, who led all scorers with 22, the Titans were able to cruise. Painter scored 21 to lead Boylan, while Miller scored 16.
While Boylan was fighting with Auburn for first, the Hononegah Indians were able to distance themselves for third place.
The Indians rode 13 points from Coop Lewis to open their conference weekend with a 42-34 win over Freeport.
The next night, the Indians traveled to surprise East, and after a tough first half, Hononegah used a dominant 19-2 third quarter on their way to a 61-44 win over the E-Rabs.
Andrew Tapley led the way for Hononegah with 15 points. The win leaves Hononegah (15-5) with a 7-3 conference record, a game behind Boylan.
Javon Henderson led East with 17 points. The E-Rabs were playing without senior Alonte Holliday.