HILLSBORO — Sparked by a strong defensive effort, the Wilmington High School boys basketball team opened its season Friday night with a thrilling 46-45 win over Hillsboro.
The victory was the first in the WHS varsity boys coaching debut for Jermaine Isaac.
“For me it really is about our guys,” said Isaac on winning his first game as WHS head coach. “I wanted it for our guys more than I wanted it for me. Everything in life does not always go your way. Even if you work hard, it may not go your way. It’s a life lesson we teach them, but they deserved (the win) to give them a reward for all the hard work they’ve put in, and buying in to what we’re selling (as coaches).”
Shane Griffith led Wilmington with 11 points, six coming in the second period. Colin Barker scored 10 points.
Quintin Captain led Hillsboro with 18 points, 12 of those coming in the fourth quarter comeback.
Wilmington trailed 23-22 at halftime but then came out in the third quarter and pushed ahead.
“For us, playing hard, playing fast and setting the tone on the defensive end … we were able to do that,” Isaac said. “We have a goal of holding our opponents to 45 points or lower. We feel that gives us a pretty good chance to win.”
Isaac said his team’s defense was solid, allowing the offense to score 18 points off Hillsboro turnovers.
Barker drained a couple of three-pointers in the third and Kellen Baltazar added four points as WHS went up 37-28 going to the fourth period.
The Hurricane held a 44-31 advantage and were ready to pull away for the win when the Indians mounted a charge.
Led by Captain, Hillsboro outscored Wilmington 12-2 and with 1:36 to go it was 46-43 WHS.
After a Hillsboro basket and missed opportunities by Wilmington, the home team had one last chance. Captain drove to the basket but was challenged by Baltazar and missed the go-ahead attempt.
“Kellen was the guy that challenged the shot,” Isaac said. “Then our big man Cole Bernhardt did a great job of tipping it (the rebound) out and keeping it away from their basket. There were so many guys around the basket trying to get their hands on the ball, it was big to keep it away from their rim.”
As time expired and the crowd held its breath, both teams were diving after the ball, Isaac said, hoping to secure the win.
“It was a great environment,” he said. “It was a packed night. I think with Covid, everybody being able to see games in person again, had everybody out for his game with neighboring schools. It was a great game to be a part of. They are a good team, well-coached.”
November 26, 2021
@Hillsboro High School
Wilmington 46 Hillsboro 45
(46) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Blessing 2-0-1-5 Warix 1-1-0-3 Brown 2-0-0-4 Baltazar 3-0-0-6 Camp 0-0-0-0 Bernhardt 2-0-3-7 Barker 4-2-0-10 Griffith 5-1-0-11. TOTALS 19-4-4/6-46
(45) HILLSBORO (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Parry 2-1-0-5 Captain 4-2-8-18 Kibler 0-0-0-0 Grifith 1-0-0-2 Middleton 0-0-0-0 Parsons 2-0-0-4 Watson 2-1-2-7 Price 3-2-1-9 TOTALS 14-6-11/17-45