Johnson becomes Pandora-Gilboa’s all-time scoring leader in win against Arlington

By Tom Usher -

Pandora-Gilboa’s Drew Johnson drives to the basket against Arlington’s Jacob Russell during Friday night’s game at Pandora-Gilboa.

Kelli Cardinal | The Lima News

PANDORA — It was a tempo tug-of-war.

Arlington may have won the slow-down tempo with its patient offense and zones, but Pandora-Gilboa survived for the win.

Pandora-Gilboa’s 6-foot-6 Drew Johnson became the school’s all-time leading boys scorer in the Rockets 30-27 boys basketball Blanchard Valley Conference game Friday at P-G.

“It’s an honor, that’s for sure,” Johnson said. “I worked my tail off since I was a little kid. I always had a basketball in my hand and I had goals. Josh Lee, it was his record I broke and he’s our assistant coach. He’s always on me to be better.’’

Johnson led the way with 14 points and 11 rebounds. He came in needing five points to break Josh Lee’s school record of 1,228 points, set in 2010.

“Drew’s a gym rat, always playing,” P-G coach Joe Braidic said. “I’m glad a kid like that broke it. He’s a basketball player. He can shoot it, he can handle it.’’

The game wasn’t stopped, but an announcement was made after the first quarter when Johnson had five first-quarter points.

Johnson will play at Huntington (Ind.) next year.

P-G is 8-1, 4-0 in the Blanchard Valley Conference. It is 2-0 in the Putnam County League.

“It’s frustrating, but it’s also nerve-wracking,” Johnson said of playing a slow-down tempo game. “When a team sticks with you that’s not supposed to stick with you. You don’t want to be the top dog that gets upset, but we knew we had to be patient. They got us out of our comfort zone. They made us pass, made us look and made us think a little bit.’’

Added Braidic, “We got looks we wanted, we just didn’t knock them down tonight. So we said that’s not working (shooting threes), so we had to go inside. … And (Jared) Breece made some plays down the stretch. That was the game when they were stalling it. We knew someone was going to do that.’’

Arlington is 5-4, 2-2 in the BVC.

“This is what our games typically are between each other,” Arlington coach Jason Vermillion said. “We had to do stuff different than what we typically do to try to contain them a little bit. … We had some opportunities, but we missed some opportunities. I can’t be more proud of the growth of this young team.’’

While Arlington was more than patient against the P-G man-to-man, the Rockets continually looked for inside for an opening against the Arlington 2-3.

P-G’s Jared Breece drove from the top of the key to the basket for a layup to give the Rockets the lead to stay 29-27 with 3:26 to go.

With the score still 29-27 Arlington called time with 33 seconds left.

Jaret Vermillion fired a deep three from the left wing, missed and Johnson rebounded with 14 seconds left.

Breece hit one of two free throws with four seconds to go to give the Rockets a 30-27 lead.

Arlington’s Nate Sheets missed a 35-footer at the buzzer.

Twice in the game, players on both sides tussled for loose balls and play got chippy.

A technical was called on a Red Devils player with 1:33 left in the third when bodies tumbled and jostled into the padded wall after a ball.

Again there was some jostling with 12 seconds left when bodies banged the floor on a loose ball.

“We have to rise above that a little bit, but that’s two teams going at each other,” Vermillion said.

At that point, Johnson stepped in and held Eli Phillips back.

“We’re very chippy,’’ Johnson “We’re chippy in practice. In the heat of the moment, people get hot, people get frustrated and people get nervous. Emotions are very high. He (Phillips) got emotional and I had to tell him we had this game and told him to shut his mouth a little bit.’’

Phillips finished with two points and eight rebounds. Breece had six points.

Jacob Russell paced Arlington with eight points. Vermillion and Ivan Berry both scored seven.

P-G won the boards 27-18.

Arlington went out to an early 9-5 lead. The Red Devils spent the first half bouncing between a 2-3 and a 1-3-1 zone.

It slowed the Rockets at first.

Then, they began finding the holes in the 2-3, 1-3-1 and 3-2.

P-G ran off an 11-0 run to pull out to a 16-9 lead with 3:43 left before the half.

During that run Johnson hit two 3-pointers, as he was open in the right corner. Cooper McCullough also sank a three.

By the half the Rockets led 21-15.

Johnson had 11 points, eight boards and a record by halftime.

Pandora-Gilboa’s Drew Johnson drives to the basket against Arlington’s Jacob Russell during Friday night’s game at Pandora-Gilboa.’s Drew Johnson drives to the basket against Arlington’s Jacob Russell during Friday night’s game at Pandora-Gilboa. Kelli Cardinal | The Lima News

By Tom Usher

Contact The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.

Contact The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.