Blessing nets 33 but Cane falls in OT thriller 59-52

By Matthew Butcher - WNJ Sports

WILMINGTON – Despite a career scoring effort from Luke Blessing, Wilmington lost a back-and-forth overtime thriller to Monroe High School Friday at Fred Summers Court, 59-52.

Blessing led all scorers with 33 points before fouling out early in the extra period, and the Hurricane missed his offense as they went scoreless in OT.

WHS drops to 3-6 on the season and has lost its last five games. They enter a league-heavy January with a 2-1 record in the SBAAC and will host New Richmond on Jan. 6.

Monroe moves to 6-4 overall and retains its 4-1 record in the SWBL. In their next affair, they will travel back to Clinton County Tuesday and face Clinton-Massie in non-league play.

Wilmington entered the fourth quarter in an 11-point hole after a 26-point third quarter from the Hornets — a quarter the ‘Cane played very well in — and began chipping away at the lead. Blessing converted two shots from deep to cut the lead to two and the barn caught fire.

The final 90 seconds of the fourth featured four exhausting lead changes, including two Blessing buckets that took the lead and a last-second, tying conversion by Jose Morales.

“This is about character, man. This kind of adversity really shows who you are. A lot of people [when] facing the adversity we’ve been facing, they quit … I told our guys that’s not who we are. Life is about choices and our guys chose to fight. They chose to bring energy,” WHS coach Jermaine Isaac said.

Blessing had 25 of his points in a blistering second half. Morales scored 10 points overall but each of his six in the fourth quarter brought the gym to a roar, most notably his game tying, driving layup with 2.7 seconds left.

“Luke Blessing … he did his thing tonight. He got back on track; it was good to see him getting some shots and some good looks,” Isaac said.

For Monroe, Drew Taylor scored 20 points as did Jason Taylor who made eight three-pointers, both seemingly taking turns going shot-for-shot with Blessing in a very impressive third quarter display.

Early in overtime, Taylor stole the ball, converted a wide-open layup and the Hornets closed it out in an anticlimactic conclusion to an enthralling regulation period.

“I’m not a believer in the moral victory, at all. It still sucks to lose, but the effort our guys gave made it (losing) worse. We did fight today, so I’m happy for our guys,” Isaac said.

The JV ‘Cane lost to Monroe 41-34. Down at half, the Hurricane outscored the Hornets 10-1 in the third quarter and eventually brought the deficit to four; but it was all in vain. Stevie Rickman and Chase Fickert had 11 and eight points, respectively, to lead the scoring for the home team.


Dec 30, 2022

@Fred Summers Court

Monroe 59, Wilmington 52 OT



(52) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Blessing 14-3-2-33 Morales 6-0-1-13 Camp 0-0-0-0 Platt 0-0-0-0 Lazic 2-0-0-4 Fickert 0-0-0-0 Achtermann 1-0-0-2 Cumberland 0-0-0-0 TOTALS 23-3-3-52

(56) MONROE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Felton 2-0-4-8 Taylor 7-5-1-20 Evans 6-6-2-20 Fultz 1-0-2-4 Salyer 0-0-0-0 Zolman 0-0-1-1 Snelling 3-0-0-6 Atha 0-0-0-0 TOTALS 19-11-9-56

By Matthew Butcher

WNJ Sports

EDITOR’S NOTE: Matthew Butcher is a student at Ohio University and covers high school basketball for the News Journal

EDITOR’S NOTE: Matthew Butcher is a student at Ohio University and covers high school basketball for the News Journal