Although it was not the outcome Wilmington basketball fans and team members were wanting, Saturday’s home finale against Winton Woods featured stiff competition which Wilmington will be facing soon in the upcoming post-season tournament.
The Hurricane (14-5) lost to the highly regarded Warriors, 61-54, at Fred Summers Court. The Hurricane trailed by just four points (56-52) with just over 1:00 to play in regulation.
“This was, in all reality, a winnable game for us and we even had them behind before they took control of it,” WHS head coach Michael Noszka said after the game. “We missed way too many opportunities. We were capable of getting the type of shots we wanted to take, but we were not patient enough.
“We seemed to be relying too much on shooting the three and we made just 3 of 15 in the first half. I told them we need to try and get inside and attack the basket, but we just did not do it enough.”
Wilmington trailed 17-12 after the opening period and the two teams played on even terms in the middle two periods, scoring 31 points each. Winton Woods claimed the final period, 13-11, for the seven-point winning margin.
Going into the fourth, WHS trailed, 48-43, but eventually tied the game at 51-51. However, the potential comeback bid stalled out and Winton Woods outscored Wilmington 10-3 to end the game and secure the win.
It was a physical game, with both teams getting numerous free throw opportunities. Winton Woods made 14 of 22 attempts, while the Hurricane made 18 of their 23 attempts from the charity stripe.
As he has done previously, Noszka took the PA microphone and addressed the Hurricane fans regarding the seven departing seniors who dressed for their final game at Fred Summers Court, highlighting their achievements as a team, and the various qualities each contributes to the Hurricane basketball program. The seniors are Dylan Beaugard (who missed the year with a knee injury), Curtis Gauche, Layne Griffith, Matthew Smith, Jeffery Mansfield, Frantz Cherisca and Dorian Taylor.
“This group of seniors has been a part of a winning tradition here at Wilmington over the past four years, totaling 74 wins. Many were a part of the team which made it to Columbus a couple years ago (in the Division I state semi-finals), and they have embraced their roles, They are some of the finest kids I have had the pleasure to coach.”
Mansfield led WHS with 17 points, all in the final three quarters, and Smith added 15. nine coming in the first half.
Wilmington will travel to Batavia Friday and Georgetown Saturday (the Bud Phillips Scholarship Contest).
“We won the league championship, but we want to go undefeated in the league, so we need both of these games coming up. Our fans have been great all season and we need them behind us this coming weekend,” Noszka said.
February 10 2018
@Fred Summers Court
Winton Woods 61 Wilmington 54
(61) WINTON WOODS (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Mason 4-0-0-8, Prince 2-0-3-7, Bailey 2-0-2-6, Ware 3-0-6-12, Walker 5-1-1-14, Dadoiku 0-0-1-1, Martin 4-1-2-13.
Team Totals: 20-2-14-61.
(54) WILMINGTON (2fg-3g-ft-tp) Morris 0-1-2-5, Coomer 1-1-0-5, Smith 4-2-5-15 Gauche 0-0-0-0, Griffith 1-0-4-6, Jacobyansky 0-0-2-2, Cherisca 0-0-0-0, Mansfield 6-0-5-17, Taylor 2-0-0-4. Team Totals: 12-4-18-54.
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.