LEXINGTON — As the Lexington boys basketball team was walking out for the opening tip, freshman Brayden Fogle looked at senior Baden Forup and smiled.
He told his senior leader that if the Clyde Fliers were going to put a smaller defender on him to tip him the ball and he was going to go down and dunk it right out of the gate.
"I told Baden when we were walking out for the tip that if they had a little guy on me or just one guy on me, tip it to me and I'll go dunk it," Fogle said. "He was like, 'Nah' because I missed two dunks yesterday, so I told him I would just lay it up then. I knew I wasn't going to lay it up."
That little trickster. Fogle convinced Forup to tip him the ball and the freshman phenom did the rest. He took three dribbles, gathered and elevated for a thunderous two-handed jam for the first boys basketball bucket in Lexington's new high school gymnasium that opened this week. The jam set the tone for Lexington's 80-40 route of Clyde as the Minutemen improved to 2-0.
"It wasn't really a drawn-up play," Lexington senior Hudson Moore said. "I think Brayden told Baden to tip it to him if his guy was playing off of him and it just got us started."
It definitely did. The Minutemen raced out to a quick 24-13 lead by the end of the first quarter behind Fogle, who scored six of the Minutemen's first 12 points including the opening dunk. It was a slam that will live forever as the first boys basketball points in the new gym.
"After last night's tip (at West Holmes), we were sitting there as the tip went up, I turned to my coaching staff and told them we needed to have a tip play," Lexington coach Scott Hamilton said. "So, before the game, I told Baden to take a look around and if he sees anything to go for it. As soon as we look up, he tips it to Brayden and he goes in and throws it down. So we are calling that B1. It was all about our kids just making a play."
B1 will be a fixture on opening tips as the Minutemen, who start four players 6-foot-3 and taller, will have the size advantage nearly every single night with Forup taking the tip at 6-7. It was a play that set the tone for the rest of the evening as Lexington went into the half with a 53-25 lead.
"It did big time for us because it got our energy high and our student section going," Hamilton said. "When you are a young player, you feed off of that energy and I thought Brayden started the game well. There were some times when I thought we needed to pull it back some and get things under control, and my seniors did a great job of doing that. It is exciting times and we will celebrate being 2-0 tonight, but when Monday rolls around we have to get ready for Ashland."
Fogle scored 22 points and added six rebounds as one of the nation's top freshmen enjoyed a breakout performance after scoring eight in his first varsity game, a 73-53 win over West Holmes on Friday night. Moore was the game's leading scorer with 23 points and he also added 12 rebounds, six on the offensive end, for a solid double-double.
But the last thing he is even focused on is individual stats. The only thing he cares about is W's.
"What we have to focus on is how, yeah, this is a great start, but it is everyone having a hot start, not just me or one guy, it is everyone," Moore said. "The main goal is to get a W each night, and we did that yesterday and today and we just need to keep doing that."
Moore has been tasked with playing multiple positions this season and has really taken it to heart. He was 3 of 6 from 3-point range and also added two assists to his full night.
"I know I can be versatile and if I can use my skillset to better my team, then that is what I have to do," Moore said. "A win is a win and there is no other way to put how important that is for us. I will do what I have to do and everyone else is going to do what they have to do to make sure we get a W at the end of the night."
Forup added 14 points and eight rebounds while Elijah Hudson had nine points as the Minutemen nearly put four players in double-figures.
But the story of the night was the first boys basketball game in the new gym. On Tuesday, Lady Lex earned the very first basketball victory in the gym by beating Willard 49-44. So Lexington is 2-0 on the court in basketball this winter.
"It is huge for everyone on this team," Moore said. "It is an honor for every single member of the team to play and win in this beautiful gym. It is bright in there and I love it. Hopefully, we have plenty more W's this year."
"It feels great, to be honest," he said. "We had a great support system and a great student section and a great environment. It just kept us all motivated."
For Hamilton, it was a great feeling after Lex had its season opener postponed due to the seats on the home side not being completed yet. The Minutemen hadn't even practiced in the new gym until Monday. But after Saturday night, when Hamilton was honored with a plaque pregame for becoming Lexington boys basketball's all-time wins leader last season, all was right in the world and Hamilton enjoyed a nice win in a beautiful new facility.
"It has been a long process to get in here when it started back in the summer when we had to get out of the old high school gym to now," Hamilton said. "To walk in there Monday when we started practicing in there for the first time, and then to walk in tonight and see the crowd come in, it was special. I told the guys, now it is our gym and we have to work hard to make sure this is a special place like our last gym was. I think it will be.
"The fans we had in there tonight were so supportive. The gym unofficially seats 2,370 and that is a great capacity and, hopefully, we can put some butts in those seats. It was great to start it off with a win."
Lexington will be back at home on Friday hosting Ashland in a key Ohio Cardinal Conference game.
This article originally appeared on Mansfield News Journal: Lexington Minutemen beat Clyde Fliers in boys basketball