WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE — Pulling away in the second half, the Wilmington High School boys basketball team opened South Central Ohio League play Tuesday with a 66-49 win over Washington on the Blue Lions home court.
The Blue Lions played a great first quarter and a solid second quarter, but, the second half belonged to Wilmington as the Hurricane posted the 15-point victory.
Wilmington is now 2-0 on the season, after opening with an 82-69 win over Cleveland Heights Friday night.
Hurricane senior Jarron Cumberland, who will play collegiately for the University of Cincinnati, poured in 34 points, 15 of those coming in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Dylan Beaugard scored 17 points and senior Matt Creditt had 11 points.
For the Blue Lions, senior Cameron Eckles led with 16 points. Senior Max Knisley scored 14 and junior Kory Proby had eight points.
“I want to give coach (Shannon) Bartruff and his staff and his kids a lot of credit,” Wilmington head coach Mike Noszka said. “This is our second year (in the SCOL) and they consistently come after us. They don’t back down. They don’t try to hold the ball.
“Our defense was terrible in the first half. That’s just unacceptable for us, I don’t care who we’re playing.”
The Blue Lions roared out to a 20-11 lead at the end of the first quarter, shooting, unofficially, 8 of 12 from the field.
“We tried to play off some guys,” Bartruff said. “We tried to keep the ball out of Jarron’s (Cumberland) hands as much as we could. We took advantage of some situations we had in transition. We did a great job of that in the first half.
“We had a bad stretch in the second quarter where we turned it over five or six times and allowed them to get back in it,” Bartruff said. “It was a dog fight from there.
Wilmington went on an 11-2 run to tie the game, 22-22 with just over five minutes remaining in the first half.
“They wore us down,” Bartruff said. “We played a solid, five, or six guys. We have some guys on our bench right now that need to get better. That starts with practice and that starts with me being more demanding of those guys.
The teams exchanged buckets and Washington was able to push its lead to as many as five points, 32-27, before the half ended with the home team taking a 36-33 lead. The Blue Lions scored the first basket of the second half to increase its lead to 38-33.
Wilmington then embarked on a 12-0 run to go from five down to seven up, 45-38, near the two-minute mark of the third quarter. After three quarters of play, Wilmington was in front, 45-40.
“We were worn down to the point where we were just making exhaustive mistakes,” Bartruff said. “I thought our effort was tremendous. When you let a team like Wilmington get out in transition, you can’t stop Jarron. You can’t take charges on him, you can’t block his shot; he’s just too big, he’s too quick and he’s too good with the basketball.”
As the fourth quarter unfolded, Wilmington showed why they are the prohibitive favorite to win the SCOL title, as they outscored the Blue Lions, 21-9 to seal the 66-49 victory.
“We won the game because of our second half defense,” Noszka said. “We had 14 consecutive stops. I give my kids a lot of credit for playing with guts and finding a way to win.”
In the j-v game Tuesday, Washington improved to 2-0 with a 47-35 win over Wilmington.
Richard Burns Jr. was the game’s leading scorer for the Blue Lions with 18 points.
Layne Griffith led Wilmington with eight points and Je’Seus Harris had seven points.
Dec 1, 2015
Wilmington 66 Washington 49
(49) WASHINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Max Knisley 4 (1)-3-14; Jarett Patton 1 (1)-0-5; Kory Proby 4-0-8; Ryan Flora 1-0-2; C.J. Taylor 1-0-2; Kenny Upthegrove 0-0-0; Griffin Shaw 1-0-2; Cameron Eckles 7-2-16; Brian Wilson 0-0-0; Jacob Knisley 0-0-0. TOTALS —19 (2)-5-49. Free throw shooting: 5 of 5. Field goal shooting: 21 of 40 for 53 percent. Turnovers: 15.
(66) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Colt Smith 1-0-2; Nick Morris 0-0-0; Zack Eden 0-0-0; Layne Griffth 0-0-0; Zach Wyrick 0-0-0; Matt Smith 0-0-0; Dylan Beaugard 5 (2)-1-17; Matt Creditt 2 (2)-1-11; Jarron Cumberland 14-6-34; Jeffery Mansfield 0-0-0; Chris Wolary 1-0-2; Alex Wright 0-0-0. TOTALS — 23 (4)-8-66. Free throw shooting: 8 of 11 for 73 percent. Field goal shooting: 27 of 53 for 51 percent. Turnovers: 10.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104 or on Twitter @choppes1