Right Foot: Tandem boys get 2019 started with win over Regents

Photo by Bart Isley

Tandem boys basketball just needed something positive to happen after dropping four straight games before winter break.


A dominant start and a 63-43 victory Saturday over Regents certainly fit the bill.


“Today’s game was basically about us coming out on a positive note,” said Tandem coach Robert Jordan. “Before the Christmas break we were down and out so we were trying to come out and start off on a positive note and getting back to what we’re supposed to do.”


The Badgers jumped out to a 14-2 lead in the first quarter and extended that lead to 34-15 by halftime. Jalen Anderson, who finished with 18 points, scored 10 of those points in the opening quarter to ignite Tandem.


Kobi Copeland also got Tandem going with 18 points of his own including a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter. Anthony Nelson chipped in 12 points and Dean Lockley had six on the night. The Badgers were at their best Saturday when they employed a lot of dribble drive action with their vast array of ball-handlers and either dished for open shots or forced the issue at the rim.


“That’s going to be our attack all year long,” Jordan said. “We’re low on post guys so we’re asking all our guys to crash the boards. Early on in that third quarter, they were kind of outrebounding us and then I thought we did a pretty good job coming down the stretch.”


That 0-4 finish to December included a 96-91 four overtime thriller on the road against Seton. The Badgers have moved up into the top half of the Delaney Athletic Conference, which changes their schedule up by pitting them against a more difficult slate of teams including Highland, often one of the top eight teams in VISAA’s Division II that includes Blue Ridge and Miller. Tandem is still a Division III squad as far as the state playoffs are concerned, and  with key wins over Covenant and STAB already under their belt they’re working on building a resume that should get them in the mix in that Division come playoff time.


Regents, who boasted a 5-1 record coming into the clash with Tandem, got in gear in the third and played the Badgers tough during that stretch. But even with that effort, the Lions were only within 14 and that left a difficult climb for the final frame.


“I was very pleased with the second half, you just can’t start off that slow against a team like Tandem,” said Regents coach Travis Johnson. “We worked so hard in the third quarter and you look up and we cut it to 14, but you’re like man, we’ve got 14 more points to overcome and that stems from the beginning of the game.”


Landon Swingler led Regents with 20 points while Griffin Conttrell chipped in 13.


Tandem will look to build on that momentum with a difficult test at home Wednesday against Highland while Regents travels to United Christian Tuesday night.