LEES CREEK – Wilmington pulled away from county rival East Clinton in the second half Friday to post a 76-54 victory in non-league action.
Wilmington is now 2-1 on the season while the Astros are winless after their first two games.
At intermission, Wilmington was clinging to a 33-31 lead. Thanks to a 17-4 Hurricane run to open the third period, Wilmington built a 59-40 advantage, outscoring the Astros by a 26-9 third quarter margin to secure the win.
“We are capable of beating anyone, when we are consistent. But, we have to play disciplined all four quarters to win,” WHS head coach Mike Noszka said following the game.
The duo of Layne Griffith and Matt Smith carried the Hurricane to the victory, combining for 41 points. Smith was deadly from the outside with five three pointers, and he paced the Hurricane offensive attack with 21, including 11 in the second half. Griffith had 14 of his 20 points in the second half of action. Also in double figures was Cam Coomer with 12 points, including eight in the second half.
For East Clinton, Wyatt Floyd was high scorer with 19 points, while JT McCarren added 16 and newly-inserted starter Alex Pence helped spark the Astros’ first half effort with nine points.
Astros’ head coach Tony Berlin, a former long-time assistant for the Wilmington program, liked his team’s performance in the first half, but the third quarter left a lot to be desired.
“In the first half, we played well, right where I want this program to be, but in the third (period) we struggled mightily, and we seemed to lose our intensity. Just like the other game versus Fairfield Leesburg, you can’t win allowing 76 points,” Berlin said.
Noszka feels this is one of the Astros’ better teams and he knows Berlin is putting his stamp on that program.
“This is a very good East Clinton team, with a lot of weapons. Floyd is a very good player, as is McCarren and they have depth. I really appreciate everything that Tony, Roger (Earley), Jeff Craycraft and that group of coaches did for us. They helped to dig the well, to get us where we were successful,” he noted.
Wilmington is idle until Friday when they will face Western Brown in SBAAC action.
For East Clinton, its a quick turnaround, with two games in the next four days. The Astros will face a very talented Greeneview team Saturday, with the Broncos of Western Brown arriving in Lees Creek on Tuesday.
December 8, 2017
@East Clinton High School
Wilmington 76 East Clinton 54
(76) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Morris 3-0-1-7, Conner 6-0-0-12, Gauche 1-0-0-2, Griffith 9-0-2-20, Jacobyansky 3-0-0-6, Smith 7-5-2-21, Mansfield 1-0-0-2, Taylor 2-0-0-4, Stewart 1-0-0-2, TOTALS 33-5-5-76.
(54) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) McCarren 5-0-6-16, Pence 4-0-1-9, Mitchell 0-0-1-1, Michael 2-1-0-5, Floyd 5-1-8-19, Vadnais 2-0-0-4. TOTALS 18-2-16-54.
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet