A couple of weeks ago, longtime Stow-Munroe Falls head boys basketball coach Dave Close wanted his team to avoid being just a 3-point shooting team.
The Bulldogs certainly proved they can score in a variety of ways. But the shot from downtown continues to be their bread and butter.
Host Stow improved to 12-4 overall and with a convincing 78-60 victory over Suburban League crossover rival Barberton Feb. 7 at James G. Tyree Gymnasium.
The Bulldogs made 15 3-pointers on the evening, including eight in the first quarter. The Magics (8-8) didn't shoot particularly bad from long distance either. Barberton converted 10 shots from beyond the arc.
In the long run, the first quarter won the game for Stow.
The Bulldogs, playing at a very fast pace, drained rainbows from just about everywhere on the court. Other than two buckets in the paint by 6-foot-8 junior forward Mason McMurray, all of Stow's buckets came from about 20 feet and beyond. As a result of this precise shooting, the Bulldogs had a 28-14 lead.
It was pretty much a stalemate the rest of the way, but Stow's hot shooting in the opening quarter was the difference in the game.
Coryon Rice was particularly lethal on this night.
The junior point guard canned three 3-pointers in the first eight minutes, including a bomb from the right side in the final seconds of the opening quarter.
Rice, who finished with a game-high and season-high 27 points, also scored the final buckets of the second and third quarters.
The third-quarter heave might have been the shot of the night.
With less than 10 seconds left, Rice calmly brought the ball past midcourt, took a few more dribbles and launched a high-arching 3 from close to 30 feet that found nothing but net. That gave the Bulldogs a 62-45 lead.
Rice finished with seven 3-pointers on the evening.
Six-foot-8 junior forward Mason McMurray scored 16 points and added a game-high 10 rebounds. McMurray made two 3-pointers.
Evan Bainbridge, a 6-8 forward, scored 11 points for Stow and senior guard Logan Lindsay scored 9 points on three 3-pointers.
Senior guard Jordan Jolly, who made two triples, scored 8 points for the Bulldogs, who led 45-30 at halftime.
Sophomore guard Jordan Soyars, who attacked the basket much of the night, scored 16 points and juniors Zane Ries (guard) and Jordan Greynolds (forward) contributed 9 points apiece for the Magics, who missed all four of their foul shots.
Stow finished with more 3-pointers than 2-point field goals. The Bulldogs made 14 baskets inside the arc. Stow converted 5-of-8 foul shots.
The first half featured just two fouls as both teams played a rapid pace that featured lots of shots from long distance.
Stow earned a 48-45 overtime win in the junior varsity game. Sophomore guard Bryce Harvey knocked down a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to seal the win.
The Bulldogs also scored a 55-42 victory in the freshman contest.