MASON — Wilmington was defeated by Archbishop McNicholas, 62-48, Tuesday in a Division II Mason Sectional tournament game at Mason Arena.
The defeat snapped a three-game winning streak for the Hurricane, as they conclude the season with a 10-13 record.
The teams battled in the early-going, with the score tied at 5 and 7. The Rockets took a 14-10 lead at the quarter break. To open the second period McNick reeled off eight unanswered points to extend the lead to 22-10, forcing Wilmington to call timeout.
The Rockets outscored WHS 18-6 in the second period, doubling the advantage to 32-16 at halftime.
Wilmington made a run to open the third quarter, cutting the margin to 32-22 but the momentum was short-lived as the Rockets made it a 48-33 contest after three quarters.
McNick’s big man, Larry Kocisko, was the go-to player, scoring 26 points, including five three-pointers. He scored 15 of his points in the second half.
Hurricane head coach Matt Kramer pointed to a crucial stretch when the Rockets got the upper-hand.
“That three-minute stretch in the second quarter was pivotal,” Kramer said. “We missed some shots and just could not get a rebound. We battled them but a couple of defensive lapses hurt.”
Despite the double-digit deficit staring them in the second half, Kramer felt his squad seized the opportunity to chop away at the Rockets.
“We came out of the locker room in the third quarter trying to make a game of it, got a few stops but could not sustain it. They (McNicholas) are a very good team,” said Kramer. “We played hard to the end and won the second-half (32-30), but that first-half deficit was just too much for us to overcome.”
Wilmington struggled from the line, converting just six of its 12 chances.
Matt Butcher and Cam Coomer paced the Hurricane scoring attack with 14 points each and Brady Vilvens added 13, including six points in the third (eight in the second half).
“Brady played his best game of the year for us tonight and he really made things happen for us in that third quarter run … he fought for every basket,” Kramer said.
For the three Hurricane seniors (Coomer, Chris Custis and Gabe Jones) it was their final game in the orange and black and Kramer praised them for their leadership.
He said it was a pleasure to coach each one of them.
“Cam (Coomer), the conference player of the year, is a dynamic scorer. But, he is a great kid. He has a tender heart and really cares. On the court, he has the heart of a lion,” said Kramer. “Chris is, simply put, a great kid and a very hard worker. Sure, he is a football player by trade, but he is fighter out there on the floor. Gabe (Jones) gave us a lift whenever he was out there. Always positive and a super attitude. He started a few games for us and was a spark when he came off the bench.”
The first-year Hurricane coach wrapped up his post-game remarks with a reflection of how the team came together as the season progressed.
“When you’re sitting at 4-9, you have to look to your seniors for strong leadership and they provided it. But, each player, every one of them made significant contributions,” he said. “We had the strong game against Goshen at home to avenge the earlier loss to them and the signature win at Clermont Northeastern—huge victories for us. It was monumental and gratifying from where we were a few months ago.”
Feb 25, 2020
McNicholas 62 Wilmington 48
(62) McNICHOLAS (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Jutze 0-0-0-0, Seeman 2-2-1-11, Brunot 3-0-2-8, Schulte 2-0-3-7, Conrad 4-0-2-10, Kocisko 4-5-3-26. TOTALS 15-7-11-62.
(48)WILMINGTON (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Butcher 4-2-0-14, Coomer 3-1-5-14, Custis 1-0-1-3, Vilvens 5-1-0-13, Barker 2-0-0-4, Jones 0-0-0-0, Glass 0-0-0-0, Baltizar 0-0-0-0, Blessing 0-0-0-0, Bernhardt 0-0-0-0, Warix 0-0-0-0, Griffith 0-0-0-0, Miller 0-0-0-0, Reeder 0-0-0-0. TOTALS 15-4-6-48.
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.