WILMINGTON — Matt Butcher took control of Tuesday’s county battle between Wilmington and East Clinton as the Hurricane broke open a close game and defeated East Clinton 62-51.
Butcher, who finished with 19 points, collected 14 in the final quarter. He buried a pair of treys on back-to-back possessions with 5:00 to play, giving the ‘Cane a double digit lead, 54-41, slamming the door on any hopes for an Astros comeback.
For the Astros, Branson Smith and Dakota Collum tied for team high honors with 15 each. Smith is now just nine points away from reaching 1,000 in his EC career.
Wilmington relied on the three-ball most of the night, knocking down 10 treys, including three by Kellen Baltazar. His rainbow corner three ignited a Wilmington run, stretching the lead to 44-39 in the first minute of the final period.
Winning coach Matt Kramer felt his team showed signs of playing well, but needs more improvement.
“We need to do better defending the ball, like we did the other night (at Blanchester). I was glad that Collin Barker got back in action tonight, and it gave us our first chance to play with a full roster,” said Kramer. “We did two or three things together at times, but still need to do a better job, especially rebounding.”
Kramer said the Astros gave a supreme effort.
“Coach (Phil) Shori is doing a great job and they played with a lot of energy, in fact I felt they played with more desire and out-played us at times,” said Kramer.
Astros Head Coach Phil Shori, while disappointed his team lost, praised his squad for their effort from start to finish.
“I really think it was our best game so far, from the opening tip to the final buzzer,” Shori said. “Even after they pulled the momentum away in the second period, we responded and took it to them in the third period.
“Butcher is simply a great player, and when he hit those threes in the fourth, it just put us too far behind. My kids don’t quit, we won’t quit because they play with a lot of heart. Cannot question their energy, it was there from start to finish.”
Jan 12, 2021
@Fred Summers Court
Wilmington 62 East Clinton 51
(51) EAST CLINTON (2fg-3ft-ft-tp) B. Smith 5-1-2-15, Collum 6-0-3-15, J. Smith 2-2-3-13, Runyon 0-0-0-0, Tolle 1-0-2-4, Arnold 1-0-0-2, Crowe 1-0-0-2, Norman 0-0-0-0. TOTALS 16-3-10-51.
(62) WILMINGTON (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Butcher 3-3-4-19, Glass 1-1-0-5, Baltazar 1-3-0-11, Vilvens 3-1-9, Bernhart 0-0-0-0, Blessing 5-2-0-16, Warix 0-0-0-0, France 1-0-0-2, Brown 0-0-0-0, Barker 0-0-0-0, Miller 0-0-0-0, Lazic 0-0-0-0. TOTALS 14-10-4-62.
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.