WILMINGTON — In a hard fought game, the Batavia Bulldogs had too much firepower for the upset-minded Wilmington Hurricane Friday.
Batavia rallied for a 63-58 victory at Fred Summers Court, as they outscored the Hurricane 18-8 in the fourth quarter, erasing a five-point WHS lead.
The win gives the Bulldogs an overall record of 15-2 and the Hurricane slips to 7-9 overall. In league play, the Bulldogs improve to 8-1 in the SBAAC American Division, good for no less than a co-championship.
Wilmington is 2-5 in league action.
“It was a great ballgame and we led 27 of the 32 minutes,” WHS coach Matt Kramer said. “Just could not hold them back.”
Non-starter Kenyon Gardner fueled the Bulldog comeback with 17 points, including seven in the final period. WHS contained Batavia’s top scorer Mason Weisbrodt to 13 points, eight in the final period.
For Wilmington, leading scorer was Kellen Baltazar with 17 points, all coming in the first three periods of play. He was involved in a collision with a Bulldog player at the 6:30 mark of the fourth quarter which drew the ire of Coach Kramer. Kramer wondered why play was not halted immediately, allowing the Bulldogs to score the go-ahead basket. During the stoppage of play, he protested to the officials, who issued a bench warning to Kramer.
“My player is on the court, in obvious pain, for at least four or five seconds, and they did not stop the action until Batavia scored. I felt it was not right,” he said.
Although he returned to the floor, Baltazar did not score the remainder of the game.
Wilmington had a 12-9 lead at the end of the first period and a 32-27 advantage at halftime. Each team scored 18 points in the third quarter.
Kramer was forced to juggle his starting line-up, informed during the warm-up that Kendal France was inactive. France did not test positive for Covid-19 but a close contact did, therefore the late removal from the game.
“I was told that Kendal could not play with 14 minutes to go until the starting lineups are announced,” said Kramer. “It obviously affected our bench and substitution patterns.
“The kids all stepped up and even though we were short-handed they never gave up. I am so proud of the kids. They don’t make excuses, just try to play through it. Again a case of where we could have folded our tent, but that’s not the way we are here at Wilmington.”
Matt Butcher added 13 points for the ‘Cane and Luke Blessing scored 12 points, nine coming in the second half. Collin Barker, off the bench, added eight points, including a pair of three pointers.
Due to re-vamped scheduling WHS will face Goshen twice in a three-day span, going there on Tuesday and hosting the Warriors at Fred Summers Court Thursday
Feb 5, 2021
@Fred Summers Court
Batavia 63 Wilmington 58
(63) BATAVIA (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Applegate 6-2-3-21, Heckard 1-0-0-2, Wiscome 2-1-0-7, Epps 0-0-1-1, Weisbrodt 5-0-3-13, Gardner 7-1-0-17, Lisk 1-0-0-2, Kongo 0-0-0-0. TOTALS 22-4-7-63.
(58) WILMINGTON (2fg-3fg-ft-tp ) Butcher 2-3-0-13, Baltazar 4-1-6-17, Vilvens 2-0-0-4, Blessing 3-2-0-12, Brown 1-0-0-2, Bernhardt 1-0-0-2, Barker 1-2-0-8. TOTALS 14-8-6-58.
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.