WILMINGTON – Wilmington counted its Blessings – 26 to be exact – and got some smooth Glass work down the stretch to put away Southern Buckeye Conference American Division and county rival Clinton-Massie 70-60 at Fred Summers Court.
Sophomore Luke Blessing poured in 26 points, 17 in the first half, to lead all scorers. Brandon Glass buried three threes from behind the arc in a 27-second span to push Wilmington’s lead from 55-53 with 2:41 left in the game to 64-53 with 1:51 left. He also made good on all four of his free throws in the final 33 seconds of the game to finish with 21 points.
“Blessing was kind of like our starting pitcher tonight. I guess Brandon was our closer. He had a fourth quarter that was clearly the difference in the game late,” WHS coach Matt Kramer said.
Massie came into Friday’s matchup with just two practices under its belt with first-year head coach Steve Graves, but nipped at the Hurricane heels all night.
“I’m so proud of those guys in there right now,” an emotional Graves said. “You should be talking to them right now instead of me, because they came in and battled. I told myself, when this job came open, I wanted to come to Clinton-Massie because of the tough, hard-nosed kids out there.
“I’ll tell you what. They showed it tonight.”
It showed when Massie overcame Wilmington’s 7-0 spurt to open the second quarter and build a 20-13 advantage. The Falcons rallied to tie the Hurricane at 28-28 by the break. Jordan Redman started the comeback with a deuce and a trey. He ultimately netted eight of his team-high 19 in the back half of the second period.
And when Wilmington scored nine straight midway through the third quarter to go up 41-32, Massie chipped away to pull within 45-42 minutes later.
The Hurricane (1-1, 1-0) did respond with another seven-point flurry to lead 52-42 at the 7:23 mark of the fourth quarter, its first of three double-digit leads in the contest.
Again, Massie (0-1, 0-1) scored 11 of the next 14, including a Redman triple, to trail just 55-53 with 2:51 left.
“I knew we were going to go in spurts, we we’re going to get tired. My coaching staff did a great job of keeping guys fresh. We used our timeouts well. We tried to keep as fresh as we could,” Graves said. “It was around the four-minute mark of the fourth we discussed going into a zone. And (Glass) hit three threes in a row and that was the back-breaker.
“But my guys just kept competing. I just love those kids.”
Glass’ three quick bombs gave Wilmington it’s second double-digit lead of the night. Brady Vilvens set the final margin with a steal and emphatic two-hand jam.
“We still have a lot of work to do, but I’m never ever ever, at this point in my career, going to pass up the opportunity to enjoy a win, especially over a rival,” Kramer said. “We’re still searching for our identity, not so much in the way we want to play, because you see we do play fast and we do hit people with some runs because of the way we play. But as far as fitting together, the pieces, they’re just not quite there yet as far as the chemistry goes.
“We are a long way from being a finished product, but we’re not going to pass up the opportunity to celebrate a win tonight.”
Dec 4, 2020
@Fred Summers Court
Wilmington 70 Clinton-Massie 60
(70) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Butcher 2-1-2-7 Miller 0-0-0-0 Glass 6-5-4-21 France 0-0-0-0 Baltazar 3-2-9-8 Vilvens 2-0-0-4 L. Griffith 1-0-0-2 Barnhardt 0-0-0-0 Blessing 10-3-3-26 S. Griffith 0-0-0-0 Brown 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 25-11-9-70
(60) CLINTON-MASSIE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Zantene 1-0-0-2 Lamb 1-0-0-2 McDowell 0-0-0-0 Meyers 6-3-0-15 Ireland 3-1-2-9 Kreider 0-0-0-0 Russell 2-0-0-4 Jones 1-1-0-3 Trick 2-0-0-4 B. Muterspaw 1-0-0-2 Redman 8-2-1-19 TOTALS 25-7-3-60