WILMINGTON — It wasn’t pretty by any means, but in the end it was a 44-38 victory for the Wilmington boys’ basketball team over McClain Friday night in South Central Ohio League action at Fred Summers Court.
The win snaps a two-game losing streak for Wilmington, giving the Hurricane an overall record of 8-5, 6-2 in the SCOL.
With the loss, McClain falls to 5-10 on the season and 2-6 in the SCOL.
It was a case of two halves, with Wilmington clearly the dominant team in the first half, building a 25-12 lead at the intermission.
But the Tigers had visions of an upset in the second half. McClain was a different team, scoring-wise in the second half, with a 26-19 advantage, including 18 points in the third quarter.
Wilmington was led in scoring by Jeffery Mansfield with 15 points (nine in the second half) and Dylan Beaugard added 11 points.
Two players had 11 points each for the Tigers — Mat Barton and Dalton Mischal.
While he was happy to see the brief losing-skid come to an end for his squad, WHS head coach Michael Noszka says his team still must find a way to turn it on all four quarters, not just two or three periods, in order to get the job done.
“We have got to find a way to put things together,” he said. “We are not sustaining things on the floor and if we are going to be a championship-caliber team, we must do a better job. Clearly, there is room for improvement and I’ve got to look at the tape but we have our share of deficiencies which must be addressed.”
Perhaps the aspect which displeased him the most was his teams’ rebounding, or better put the lack of getting those missed shots.
“Our rebounding tonight was sub-par, it was simply not what we expect on the floor,” Noszka said. “Give McClain credit, they dominated the boards and it nearly cost us the lead. We have to get back to doing the little things and give a maximum effort all four quarters.”
At halftime, things were looking good for the Hurricane. Just two minutes into the third quarter on a driving jam by Mansfield, Wilmington doubled the score at 30-15. But at that point, the momentum changed quickly and McClain, thanks to a flurry of three-pointers, got right back into the contest.
Barton and Mischal then put together a barrage of four straight three-pointers for the Tigers, who reeled off 12 unanswered points. All at once, the scoreboard read Wilmington 30, McClain 27.
Layne Griffith came off the WHS bench with a three-pointer to halt the Tigers’ run. Beaugard scorched the nets for a trey as the third quarter horn sounded, giving Wilmington a seven-point cushion, 37-30.
McClain would not go away, however, and Jacob Starkey’s old-fashioned three-point play to open the fourth quarter helped get the Tigers closer. Starkey added another field goal and then a driving layup by Landree Gray pulled the Tigers within three, 41-38, with just under two minutes to play.
Offensively, the Hurricane struggled throughout the entire second half, as they were limited to just six field goals, and only two in the final period.
It took some clutch free throw shooting by Mansfield to secure the win. He converted the front end of a one and bonus opportunity, then connected on both ends of another one and one inside the final minute for the Hurricane’s final three points on the night.
In the contest, Wilmington converted 6 of 10 chances at the line, while the Tigers connected on 8 of 13 free throw attempts.
January 20, 2017
@Fred Summers Court
Wilmington 44 McClain 38
(38) McCLAIN (fg-3fg-ft-tp) O’Connor 1-0-2-4, Dean 1-1-0-3, Starkey 3-0-1-7, Barton 3-3-2-11, Mischall 3-2-3-11, Gray 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 12-6-8-38.
(44) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Gauche 1-0-0-2, Griffith 2-1-0-5, Smith 2-0-0-4, Beaugard 5-1-0-11, Mansfield 4-1-6-15, Wolary 3-1-0-7. TOTALS 17-4-6-44.
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal