OWENSVILLE — With a dramatic fourth quarter rally, the Wilmington Hurricane prevailed over Clermont Northeastern, 60-56, Friday night in a Bud Phillips Scholarship benefit boys basketball action at the CNE gym.
The Hurricane ends the regular season at 10-11 overall, while CNE ends the regular season at 18-4.
Wilmington trailed 42-40 heading into the final period and thanks to a 15-6 run, took a 53-48 lead with less than 90 seconds to play in regulation.
Sophomore Collin Barker nailed a trey in the final period, and extended the lead to 55-48, connecting on both ends of a one and bonus free throw opportunity.
Skylar Schmidt, the Rockets 6-7 junior forward, scored 26 points on the night, including 12 in the third period, but he was limited to just three points in the final period.
“This was our biggest win of the year,” said WHS head coach Matt Kramer. “This team has come so far, in terms of where we were when the season started, and them getting to know us (coaches) and adapting to our style of play and buying into the system.
“Tonight was different since we did not have much time to prepare. I think it could be said this was a signature win for the program. Schmidt is a very good ballplayer and to contain him in the final period was a big factor. We are really building some momentum here and the trust in the locker room is really evident. There’s a lot of trust between the players and from us coaches. I knew coming in here there was talent. It’s a matter of refining it and getting them to make it happen on the court.”
The victory was Wilmington’s six in its last eight games.
Cam Coomer led the Hurricane scoring attack with 20, including 13 in the final period. When sent to the line in the final period, Coomer converted five of his six frees.
Wilmington connected on 10 of 14 chances from the line, making nine of 11 chances in the final period.
From the line Clermont Northeastern converted seven of 12.
Matt Butcher added 16 points, and was plagued by foul trouble. He did not score in the opening period.
Butcher scored 11 in the third including a trey which sailed through the net as the horn sounded pulling WHS within two, 42-40.
Chris Custis hit the boards very well, pulling down 12 rebounds, and helped contain Schmidt to just three points in the final period.
In the junior varsity contest, Wilmington rallied in the closing minutes to post a hard-fought, 42-40 victory over the Rockets. Luke Roy’s squad ends the season at 10-10 for the year.
Coach Kramer feels his team has the ability to make something happen when it plays in the Division II tournament on Feb. 27.
“Given the way we are playing right now, with two players who can score 40-45 points between them, and others starting to chip in, I really don’t think we are done yet,” said Kramer.
Wilmington will face the winner of Bethel-Tate and McNicholas 6 p.m. Feb. 27 at Mason Arena.
(60) WILMINGTON (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Butcher 3-3-1-16, Coomer 6-1-5-20, Custis 1-0-0-2, Vilvens 2-1-4-9, Glass 0-2-0-6, Barker 1-1-2-7, Baltazar 0-0-0-0, Team Totals: 13-8-10-60.
(56) CLERMONT NE (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Burns 2-2-2-12, Pottorf 0-0-1-1, Schmidt 11-0-4-26, Reece 1-2-0-8, Martin 1-0-0-2, King 2-1-0-7, Team Totals 17-5-7-56
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.