WILMINGTON — After dropping back-to-back games last weekend to East Clinton and undefeated Moeller, Wilmington head basketball coach Mike Noszka felt it was important for his team to “find it’s identity” and the Hurricane accomplished that Friday night taking down cross-county rival Clinton-Massie, 70-54, at Fred Summers Court.
Wilmington improves to 10-7 overall and, by virtue of Miami Trace defeating Chillicothe in overtime, 68-65, Friday, both the Hurricane and Cavaliers are now tied for second in the South Central Ohio League at 8-3.
Meanwhile, the loss drops Clinton-Massie to 5-12 overall and 3-8 in the SCOL.
“We have spent the past week trying to get our identity back. Every team is in search of its identity throughout the season and we got away from ours,” Noszka said. “But we must play like this always and find a way to put it together all four quarters, not just for a half, if we’re gonna be a very successful team.”
WHS jumped out to a 17-6 first quarter lead and thanks to a 28-point explosion in the second period, carried a 45-18 advantage into the locker room at halftime. Dylan Beaugard was the offensive catalyst for the Hurricane with 18 in the first half, including 10 in the opening period. He finished as the game’s high scorer with 24 points.
Chris Wolary added 15 points (nine in the first half) and Jeffery Mansfield scored 10 points for the Hurricane.
Starting the second half, the team in the blue jerseys (Clinton-Massie) looked like a different team and made a run of its own. Scoring nine straight points and with a 17-12 edge in the third quarter, the Falcons cut the deficit to 57-35 after three quarters.
The Falcons outscored Wilmington in the final period, 19-13, however, the margin was too great for Clinton-Massie to overcome.
Despite losing, Falcons’ head coach Todd Cook was pleased with his squad’s second half performance, outscoring Wilmington 36-25.
“We attempted to attack the basket, in the second half, instead of constantly attempting three-pointers like we did to open the game,” Cook said. “We need to maintain our focus and that’s what I asked them at halftime, because it seemed like we really weren’t ready to play at the start. We let Wilmington take it to us. In the third quarter we played much harder and with better intensity. But, we needed that at the start. It’s gonna be a busy week ahead for us because we’ve got back-to-back league games coming and neither will be easy games for us.”
Washington Senior High is next up for the Falcons on Tuesday, while McClain provides the opposition on Friday night.
Massie committed 17 turnovers and Wilmington turned it over 13 times, but only five came in the first half.
Two players reached double figures for the Falcons, as Trey Uetrecht led the way with 15, including nine in the first half. Thomas Myers added 13, including 11 in the second half. Chris Demler came off the bench to add nine points to the Falcons’ attack.
For Wilmington, Noszka felt his big three (Beaugard-Mansfield-Wolary) stepped up for the Hurricane from the opening tip.
“Offensively, we got great efforts tonight from Dylan, Jeffery and Chris,” Noszka said. “They really took charge of the game. Matt (Smith) and Curtis (Gauche) did their job in the ‘fox-holes’ and we got great contributions from both Layne (Griffith) and Alex (Wright). We need solid contributions from all seven of those players for us to be successful.”
Wilmington must, in Noszka’s opinion, be ready to give a maximum effort Saturday night, when the Springfield Wildcats face his squad at Fred Summers Court.
“Springfield gave Moeller a real battle and only lost to them by three points,” Noszka said. “It’s gonna be a real challenge for us. Right now, we are just a couple of weeks away from competing in the Division I sectional tournament. Every game we play is important, and that is why we must play our brand of basketball and do it every quarter we’re on the floor.”
February 3, 2017
@Fred Summers Court
Wilmington 70 Clinton-Massie 54
(54) CLINTON-MASSIE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Demler 3-1-2-9 Chowning 1-1-0-3 Myers 4-0-5-13 Cook 0-0-1-1 Greathouse 4-0-0-8 Uetrecht 6-1-2-15 Settlemyre 1-0-1-3 Leforge 0-0-2-2. TOTALS 19-3-13-54
(70) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Gauche 0-0-0-0 Griffith 4-2-1-11 Wright 1-1-0-3 Smith 2-1-2-7 Beaugard 10-0-4-24 Mansfield 2-0-6-10 Wolary 6-1-2-15 Morris 0-0-0-0 Evans 0-0-0-0 Coomer 0-0-0-0. TOTALS 25-5-15-70
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet
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