WILMINGTON – Led by senior Matthew Smith, the Wilmington Hurricane turned back the Loveland Tigers, 70-56, Wednesday night at Fred Summers Court in non-league boys basketball action.
The victory improves Wilmington’s record to 4-3. Loveland also is 4-3 on the year.
Smith scored all 31 of his points in the final three periods of action, and fired in a total of eight treys on the night.. He accounted for 20 of the Hurricane’s second half points, as they outscored the Tigers, 31-24, after taking a 39-32 advantage at halftime.
WHS head coach Mike Noszka called Smith’s effort an outstanding individual performance and beamed with pride about his contributions to the Hurricane basketball team.
“I am so happy for him tonight. Matt Smith has buried himself in Wilmington basketball, all four years he has been here,” Noszka said. “No one works any harder than Matt and he leads by example. We came out ready to play four quarters of basketball and although we had a few letdowns in the fourth quarter, it was really a good, quality effort tonight.”
Jeffrey Mansfield added 14 points for the Hurricane, including 10 in the first half.
Sophomore Cameron Coomer, whose playing time has increased steadily as the season progresses, scored in double figures with 12, including nine in the first half of play
For Loveland, the high scorer was Matt Toigo, who tallied 26, including six three pointers. He was limited to just one trey in the final period, as Wilmington outscored the Tigers, 18-13.
Noszka feels as his squad is responding to the challenge of playing a strong caliber of Division I programs during this two week stretch to close out the year. Earlier, the Hurricane lost at Princeton, and battled defending state runner-up Moeller tough on its own floor for much of the first half, before losing to the Crusaders last Friday.
Wednesday’s effort against Loveland was a positive sign and he hopes the momentum continues Friday night, when the Hurricane travels to Mason to face the Comets.
“This group of kids, especially the seniors, are really setting the example,” said Noszka. “This string of games, all on the road, will make us tougher during the second half of the year. This group of seniors has been through a lot in their four years here, some times good, and some not so good. We just need to become more consistent and keep getting better. That’s our goal right now and that’s what we are focused on.”
December 27 2017
@Fred Summers Court
Wilmington 70 Loveland 56
(56) LOVELAND (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Tripp 4-1-2-14, McCluskey 0-1-2-5, Soth 1-0-0-2, Foust 2-0-1-5, Toigo 4-6-0-26, Cox 2-0-0-4. TOTALS 13-8-5-56.
(70) WILMINGTON (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Morris 1-0-0-2, Coomer 3-1-3-12, Griffith 1-1-2-7, Jacobyansky 2-0-0-4, Smith 3-8-1-31, Mansfield 4-1-3-14. TOTALS 14-11-9-70.
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.