ROSSFORD — Rossford 6-foot-10 senior Derek Vorst gave Genoa 6-7 freshman Walter Plantz a few lessons on the game of basketball Friday in a key Northern Buckeye Conference tilt Friday at George Wolfe Field House.
The Indiana State University-bound Vorst was 9-for-16 from the field and he had a double-double 21 points, 11 rebounds and blocked three shots as the Bulldogs defeated the Comets, 48-32.
The 10-2 Bulldogs took command in the NBC, owning sole possession of first place at 7-0, while Genoa took its first league loss, falling to 9-2 and 6-1.
Plantz, the only freshman starter in the game, had the task of defending Vorst, but could not stop him in the paint as Vorst dunked over him on two occasions. Still, Vorst was impressed with the young Plantz.
“It was exciting,” Vorst said. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about him before this game. He’s going to be a really good player. How tall he is, he’s athletic, he can rebound, he can shoot, and I have a lot of respect for him.”
Rossford’s plan was to go directly at Plantz, and sure enough, on Rossford’s first possession Vorst got the ball in the paint and tried to score inside with Plantz trying to stop him.
Vorst missed the bunny, but Plantz was whistled for his first foul 20 seconds into the contest and Vorst hit one of two free throws. The scenario played over and over throughout the game with Vorst usually scoring.
“Coming into this game I knew he was a freshman. I knew when I was a freshman, I wasn’t very physical,” Vorst said. “He was more physical than I thought but that was a goal to bring it to him and see what they can do.”
Rossford coach Brian Vorst said his son Derek, who is three years older than Plantz, had “maturity” as his benefactor.
“I mean it was a good match-up. Derek is a little more mature, a little more physical,” coach Vorst said. “In a year or two the young man from Genoa, he’ll have the advantage over guys.
“It’s a learning process, just like for Derek when he was coming up. It’s the same thing. He’s a very good player and he’s going to have a wonderful career.”
Genoa first-year coach Jon Sandwisch said it was a learning experience for all of his players.
“As I told them in there (locker room), ‘I love them and I’m proud of them no matter what.’ But it was a learning experience, not only for him but for everyone,” Sandwisch said.
“Derek is a great ballplayer and Walter is improving every single day and he works his butt off. I think it was a great NBC matchup. I don’t think the NBC gets the respect with the level of talent we have across this league.”
Rossford 6-3 senior guard Brenden Revels was 7-for-11 from the field, scoring 18 points with five steals and 6-4 senior guard Jake Morrison had six points, six rebounds and blocked two shots.
Rossford committed just four turnovers to Genoa’s 11, including eight steals by Rossford. The Bulldogs outscored the Comets 10-2 in points off turnovers, with all 10 points provided by Revels on steals and transition layups.
Garette Murphree, a 6-4 senior guard, scored three points on one triple, but all three guards contribute to Rossford’s inside-out play with Vorst.
“That’s a great combination because Brenden is shooting it pretty well and he’s such a slasher that he’s able to get to the rim,” coach Vorst said.
“He’s so big and physical as a guard, and Derek is Derek on the inside, and he was able to score today. He missed some shots, but that is a great inside-outside combination.
“You throw Garette Murphree in there, and he can shoot really well, and Jake Morrison, who can play inside-out, so I think it’s a pretty good combination when the kids are playing well together.”
Defensively, the Bulldogs had to stop the Comets’ perimeter shooting. Genoa was 6-for-19 from beyond the arc, led by senior guard Skylar Ju, who was 2-for-6 and finished with a team-high 10 points.
“We talked beforehand that we have to run high hands-on shooters,” coach Vorst said. “They have some of the best shooters I’ve ever seen, and we have to dominate in the paint.
“I thought during that stretch we did both of those well. I thought we rebounded well and we defended on penetration so they couldn’t kick out to the perimeter.
“We’ve been talking to them all year about how important it is to play solid defense and when we did that really good things happen,” coach Vorst continued.
“They came out in the second half and made a couple adjustments that hurt us and cut into that lead, but the boys did a really good job of adjusting defensively and playing really hard for 32 minutes.”
The Comets responded with two triples to open the third quarter, closing the gap to four, 24-20, with 6:52 remaining, but Rossford’s offense kicked into gear as the Bulldogs went on a 13-0 run.
“I think we knocked down shots in the second half. We got a little hot, and the guys got real good looks, and fortunately we were able to knock them down,” coach Vorst said.
“Unfortunately, late in the game we struggled a little bit. We got a little loose, but we’ve got to make shots in order to win.”
As a team the Bulldogs shot 48% (19-for-40) from the field, including 5-for-15 from three-point territory and made 5-of-7 free throws. The Bulldogs had a narrow 23-22 advantage off the glass.
Genoa shot 32% (12-for-37) from the floor and made both of their two free throw attempts. Junior forward Aiden Brunkhorst had five points and seven rebounds and senior guard Griffin Meyer had two points and four assists.
The two teams will meet again at Genoa on Friday, Feb. 17 — the final regular season game of the year for both teams. Sandwisch hopes his team can learn from this first encounter with the Bulldogs.
“It’s always good to play a real good basketball team,” Sandwisch said. “They’ve been good for five or six years, so if you take a group like ours — we are learning every single day, to play a really phenomenal team like Rossford you are going to learn things.
“I’m proud of our team. We got punched in the face a lot. We didn’t blink and we kept battling back. But obviously when you play a real good team you are going to get punched many times.”