Falcons soar over Hillcrest to remain unbeaten in OC

Basketball games rarely go according to plan, but for the Glendale Falcons on Tuesday night, that’s exactly what happened.
 
Monty Johal and Jordan Walton each scored 18 points and the Falcon defense forced 22 turnovers as Glendale blitzed Hillcrest 87-55 in an Ozark Conference matchup at Hillcrest High School.

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“You always hope games work out the way you want them to, but you never know,” Glendale coach Brian McTague said.
 
Jaydun Syndor had 15 points to lead Hillcrest (5-10, 0-3 Ozark Conference).
 
Glendale (11-6, 3-0 OC) fell behind 7-2 out of the gates on Tuesday before putting together a 20-3 run that gave the Falcons command of the game for good.
 
“Getting off to a good start was very key,” said Walton, who made seven of 13 shots, including three 3s in the win. “We wanted to take the crowd out of it to begin with. We were hitting shots early, which was really good.”
 
Glendale shot 58 percent from the field in the first quarter (11 of 19) as Walton and Johal caught fire early on.
 
“Me and Monty got going fast,” Walton said. “It makes it so much easier with that guy on my squad.”
 
The sophomore duo combined for 31 points and seven 3s in the first half—five more points than Hillcrest’s entire team—as Glendale built a 54-26 halftime lead and didn’t look back.
 
But just as good as Glendale was on offense, they were equally tough on defense. By halftime, the Falcons had eight steals and forced 14 Hillcrest turnovers. They finished with 12 steals for the game.
 
“The last two games, we’ve guarded as well as we have all season,” McTague said. “We’re getting really good help defense. Our kids are starting to understand that they don’t have to do it by themselves. If they’ll help each other and trust that they have help, it makes us pretty good.”
 
After playing a tough early season schedule that saw them face five opponents ranked in the top five in state, the Falcons could be starting to hit their stride. Winners of five of their last six, they believe their challenging schedule has helped prepare them for conference play.
 
“We’ve had a really tough schedule to begin with, but I think we’re starting to come out and play our best basketball,” Walton said.
 
“We’ve challenged ourselves and tried to get our guys to play at that level all the time, no matter who we’re playing,” McTague added. “If we can bring that into the conference, bring that into February and March, then we feel like we’re going in a good direction.”
 
Glendale    27    27    14    19    87
 
Hillcrest    15    11    13    16    55
 
Glendale: Johal 18, Walton 18, Freeman 9, Helm 9, Baker 9, Wester 8, Sachs 8, Call 6, Flattery 2
 
Hillcrest: Syndor 15, Clark 9, Powell 8, Podurgiel 5, Weaver 5, Washington 4, Freeman 4, Duke 3, Jones 2