Before a spirited Senior Night crowd, the Wilmington boys basketball team posted its 13th victory on the season Tuesday night, a 67-37 defeat of the New Richmond Lions.
The win enables WHS to maintain its unbeaten status in league play (8-0) in the SBAAC American Division. The victory also gives Wilmington the outright division championship. The Hurricane clinched a share with Saturday’s win over Goshen.
Wilmington raced to a 21-8 first quarter lead, which they extended to 39-20 at the halftime.
Thanks to a 14-2 run to start the third period, in just a three-minute span, WHS slammed the lid on the contest with a 53-22 advantage. Wilmington led 61-29 lead after three periods.
Head coach Mike Noszka spoke highly of his seniors.
“This squad has really had its share of adversity,” Noszka said. “We lost Dylan (Beaugard, starting point guard) before the season started. Many players had to adapt and take on different responsibilities. When you think about the quality teams we have had here at Wilmington, this squad had a heavy burden. We have had a lot of talented teams here and this one excelled in desire.”
An intangible, in Noszka’s opinion, is the way this team was focused stepping onto the floor, in each game played, with one common goal, to win.
“I’ve been coaching varsity basketball for 20 years, and this is perhaps the closest, tight-knit group of kids that I have had the pleasure to coach,” he said. “They really care about and help each other and want each other to succeed. Like I just said to them in the locker room, playing basketball is one thing and it will come to an end soon. But friendships are made at this level and the time spent together, the hours of hard work and time in the weight room, that is how you build relationships. Some (relationship) can last a lifetime, and that is what I see in them.”
As for the game, Noszka was pleased with how his team took care of the ball (eight turnovers) as well as its half-court offensive effort. The defensive effort, allowing just 37 points, speaks for itself. There was only one period – the second – in which New Richmond reached double figures.
It was a balanced effort scoring wise, with seven players in the scorebook on this winning night. Jeffery Mansfield led with 20, Layne Griffith added 16, and Matthew Smith scored 13. Willie Morris had seven, including a pair of treys and Cam Coomer added five, all coming in the first half.
In pre-game ceremonies all winter senior athletes and their parents were recognized. Senior basketball players included Curtis Gauche, Griffith, Smith, Dylan Beaugard (injured and out for the season), Frantz Cherisca, Mansfield, and Dorian Taylor.
The Hurricane returns to the Fred Summers Court this weekend, hosting Goshen Friday night in SBAAC action, and then the regular-season home finale against Winton Woods Saturday night.
February 6 2018
@Fred Summers Court
Wilmington 67 New Richmond 37
(37) NEW RICHMOND (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Williamson 1-0-0-2, Smith 1-0-2-4, Horgan 2-1-0-5, Stephen 3-0-0-6, Heskamp 2-1-0-5, Ernst 2-0-1-5, Ackerman 4-0-2-10. TOTALS 15-2-5-37.
(67) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Morris 2-2-1-7, Coomer 2-0-1-5, Griffith 7-1-1-16, Smith 6-1-0-13, Mansfield 10-0-0-20, Cherisca 2-0-0-4, Taylor 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 30-4-3-67.
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.