FAIRFIELD — Wilmington raced to a 39-point lead Saturday afternoon, then cruised to the finish line of a 66-49 win over Harrison in a Division I sectional first round game at Fairfield High School.
“You want to get those jitters out of the way,” WHS head coach Mike Noszka said. “I thought we played great defense. We executed really well in the first half.”
When the Hurricane were at their best, Harrison didn’t have an answer.
The first two quarters were a clinic put on by the now 22-1 Hurricane. Wilmington held a 24-7 lead at the end of the first quarter with precision shooting (61 percent) and stifling defense.
Harrison managed just five shot attempts in the first quarter, making two. They had six more turnovers (11) than they had shot attempts in the first eight minutes.
Wilmington continued to punish the Wildcats in the second quarter. In fact, WHS played even better in the second, shooting 65 percent. Harrison had eight more turnovers in the quarter while not forcing even one Hurricane miscue.
The Wildcats did manage nine shot attempts in the period, making just three. A 27-7 second quarter gave Wilmington a 51-14 halftime advantage.
Rather than lighting up the scoreboard in the second half, Wilmington shuffled through its entire bench, allowing Harrison to chip away at its deficit by game’s end.
Jarron Cumberland was, as expected, too much for Harrison to handle. They played him physically, pushing and bumping him at every turn. The Wildcats also tried to triple-team him which didn’t slow the University of Cincinnati-bound guard.
Cumberland finished with 26 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks. Cameron Stewart finished with a double-double, scoring 10 points and dishing out 11 assists.
Seniors Cumberland, Stewart, Alex Miller and Nick Morris combined for 43 of Wilmington’s 51 first-half points.
“The kids were ready to play, especially our seniors,” Noszka said. “It’s about them. It’s about us playing for them, and they’ve got to play for themselves and for each other.”
Nick Vanderpohl, buoyed by a 12-0 run of his own in the final three minutes, led Harrison with 21 points.
“If you let kids shoot – you saw them in the second half,” Noszka said. “They got some shots and they can hit them. Your defensive pressure has got to do it. There’s a lot of good players out there.”
Wilmington will play Princeton 6 p.m. Tuesday at Fairfield in the second round of the Division I sectional. Noszka noted the Vikings had some good results on its schedule, including a four-point loss to Lakota East and wins over Lakota West and Oak Hills.
“They’re going to run dribble-drive at us,” Noszka said. “They’re young but they’re very athletic. They’ve played some good teams very close this year. They’re a potent team. We’ve got to be ready to play them Tuesday. That’s a short turnaround.
“I just told the kids, it’s not about the last one, it’s about the next one.”
In the other half of the bracket, Fairfield will face Kings 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Fairfield defeated Northwest 41-34 on Saturday and Little Miami knocked off Kings 78-76 Saturday.
Feb. 20, 2016
@Fairfield High School
Wilmington 66, Harrison 49
(66) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Cameron Stewart 4-2-0-10, Nick Morris 2-0-0-4, Alex Miller 5-0-0-10, Nathan Barker 1-1-0-3, Matthew Smith 1-0-0-2, Dylan Beaugard 1-0-0-2, Jarron Cumberland 10-3-3-26, Jeffery Mansfield 0-0-1-1, Chris Wolary 4-0-0-8. TOTALS 28-6-4-66.
(49) HARRISON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Nick Vanderpohl 7-4-4-21, Griffin McMahan 4-3-0-11, Drew Banks 2-1-0-5, Gerald Smith 0-0-1-1, Mitchell Hogue 1-0-2-4, Jacob Back 1-0-1-3, Frankie Young 0-0-2-2, Drew Lutts 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 16-7-10-49.
FIELD GOALS: W 28/56 (Cumberland 10/16, Miller 5/7, Wolary 4/6); H 16/38 (Vanderpohl 7/12, McMahan 4/8)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: W 6/18 (Cumberland 3/6, Stewart 2/4); H 7/19 (Vanderpohl 3/6, McMahan 3/5)
FREE THROWS: W 4/7 (Cumberland 3/4); H 10/18 (Vanderpohl 4/5)
REBOUNDS: W 31 (Cumberland 7, Miller 5, Beaugard 5, Mansfield 4); H 25 (Banks 4, Back 3, Young 3)
ASSISTS: W 22 (Stewart 11, Cumberland 3, Beaugard 3); H 11 (Smith 5, Young 4)
STEALS: W 12 (Stewart 4, Cumberland 4); H 11 (Vanderpohl 3)
BLOCKED SHOTS: W 5 (Cumberland 2, Wolary 2); H 2
TURNOVERS: W 17; H 24
Matt covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @mattsports.