WILMINGTON – Wilmington fought off a furious Western Brown comeback Friday to escape with a 60-57 victory at Fred Summers Court.
Cam Coomer hit two free throws with 5.6 seconds left in the game after Zyon Tull’s three a couple seconds before that pulled the Broncos to within 58-57. Wilmington called timeout after Tull’s three to set its end-of-game strategy.
“I was afraid we were going to throw the ball inbounds and they were going to win on a layup. We’ve done some goofy things down there, and we were disjointed. I thought we were going to drop it on the floor one more time and we were going to get our hearts broken with them shooting a layup. Things were just chaotic,” WHS head coach Matt Kramer said. “I told them we’re going to try to get the ball in Cam’s hands so he gets to the foul line. We have two fouls to give … I want to give the two fouls and make them throw in a prayer with hopefully less than two seconds left, which is what they did.”
Yani Williams’ desperation heave from half court missed the mark.
The Hurricane (4-4, 3-0 Southern Buckeye Conference American Division) ended a three-game slide in the process and kept pace with New Richmond atop the division.
“We’ve had rough couple weeks. We started off 3-1, and I knew that was a little bit of fool’s gold. Not because we’re not good, but because, quite frankly, we’re not that well-coached yet, because I haven’t been here that long. Sometimes coaches say ‘Well, I gotta coach better,’ and sometimes it sounds like coach-speak to deflect the attention from the kids. But the fact of the matter is, it’s not as much about them being uncoached as much as it is about them needing more time to get to used to the things we’re doing,” Kramer said. “To be able to compose yourself and get where you’re supposed to be takes time. We’re just not as fine-tuned with those types of things execution-wise that I would like to be.
“But we learned some lessons from (the last couple weeks). I think you saw us playing harder tonight than we played in those games. We’re learning to play with adversity a little bit. And I think tonight we played a pretty good game for three quarters and a minute.”
The Hurricane came out hot, nailing its first five shots and 8-of-11 in the opening period, to build a 19-9 cushion. Coomer had nine of his game-high 23 points in the quarter while Matt Butcher added eight of his 19.
The Broncos (4-5, 1-2) scored nine of the first 11 points of the second quarter to pull within 21-18 with 3:36 to go before the intermission. Wilmington scored the last six points of the half to take a 27-18 lead into the break.
Wilmington’s lead bounced between seven and 13 before the Broncos’ late charge.
“One of the things that happens when you’re a new coach is that it seems you’re one game behind what you need to work on,” Kramer said. “And we haven’t seen a lot of pressing. Normally, we handle that pretty well. We have a couple new guys in our rotation who are getting minutes. They were on the floor there, and we didn’t handle the pressure very well, which is unusual for us, honestly.”
Three Broncos reached double-figures, led by Williams with 18. Jackson Miller had 12 while Ian Shaffer chipped in with 10.
“We got some good things done tonight. I thought we played hard. I thought we defended hard, especially for the first three quarters. And we made enough plays at the end to win,” Kramer said. “That’s the nice thing about this team, it’s going to keep getting better. We have a lot of guys who don’t have much experience. And they’re getting it on the fly.
“And tonight they learned how to win a close game. That’s a positive thing.”
Jan 3, 2020
@Fred Summers Court
Wilmington 60 Western Brown 57
(57) WESTERN BROWN (fg-ft-tp) Williams 7-1-15, Miller 5-0-12, Moore 3-0-6, Shaffer 4-1-10, Tull 3-2-9, Carroll 0-0-0, Dylan Novak 0-0-0, Drew Novak 2-0-5. Total 24-4-57. 3-point goals: 5 (Miller 2, Tull, Drew Novak, Shaffer). FTM-FTA 4-12, 33 percent.
(60) WILMINGTON (fg-ft-tp) Butcher 6-3-19, Coomer 8-4-23, Custis 1-5-7, Vilvens 2-1-5, Jones 0-0-0, Baltazar 0-0-0, Griffith 0-0-0, Glass 2-0-6, Blessing 0-0-0, Barker 0-0-0. Total 19-13-60. 3-point goals: 9 (Butcher 4, Coomer 3, Glass 2). FTM-FTA 13-16, 81 percent.
Shawn Robinson covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @twinzdad01.