WEST CHESTER — St. Xavier proved to be too much for the Hurricane, as Wilmington was eliminated in the Division I Sectional Tournament, 74-58, Wednesday night at Lakota West High School.
Wilmington ends the year at 17-6, while the Bombers advance in the tourney and will face #3 seed Oak Hills on Saturday night.
The Bombers seized control of the game in the second period, outscoring Wilmington by a 21-12 margin, taking a 32-22 lead at the intermission.
St. Xavier kept the momentum going their way with a 22-15 effort and built a 54-37 advantage after three. The closest Wilmington could get in the fourth quarter was 12 points, 58-46 midway through the final period.
Wilmington was plagued by turnovers throughout the contest (21 total) including 10 in the first half and 11 in the second half. The Bombers capitalized on the Hurricane miscues, scoring 26 points off Wilmington’s turnovers. The Bombers committed just 13 in the contest.
Wilmington also had its problems from the field, shooting just 38 percent in the first half (8 of 21), and for the game was 44 percent, making 21 of 47 attempts. They also struggled at the free throw line, converting just seven of 16 attempts, making 45 percent. St. Xavier made 16 of their 25 free throw attempts.
Leading scorer for the Hurricane was senior Jeffery Mansfield with 21 points, while fellow senior Matt Smith added 17, including five three-pointers. Senior Layne Griffith added eight points for the Hurricane.
Also seeing action in their final game for the orange and black were seniors Curtis Gauche and Dorian Taylor.
Wilmington head coach Mike Noszka gave credit to St. Xavier on this night, and chose to talk about his departing seniors.
“In all of my 20 years as a varsity coach, no team wanted to win each game more than these kids,” he said. “Tonight, they gave it all they had. It just was not our night. There are no regrets in that locker room, and I am proud of their effort tonight, and all season long.
“The bonds they have developed with each other are real, and they will do well in their careers after high school. They have been a pleasure to coach, and to see them develop.”
ST. XAVIER 11-21-22-20-74
(74) ST. XAVIER (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Frank 1-0-0-2, Stockman 6-1-1-16, Witttrock 6-0-2-14, Gilbert 5-1-7-18, Pellot 1-0-1-3, Wolf 1-4-5-19, Jefferson 1-0-0-2. Team: 20-6-16-74.
(58) WILMINGTON (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Morris 0-1-0-3, Coomer 1-1-2-7, Gauche 1-0-0-2, Griffith 4-0-0-8, Smith 1-5-0-17, Mansfield 5-2-5-21. Team: 12-9-7-58.
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.