LEES CREEK – Wilmington jumped out to a big lead for the second consecutive game, but this time the Lady Hurricane had to hold on for a 36-27 victory over host East Clinton Wednesday in South Central Ohio League action.
It was the first league victory for Wilmington after three straight SCOL defeats and improves the Lady ’Cane overall to 2-4.
With the loss, East Clinton remains winless in the SCOL (0-4) and the Lady Astros fall to 1-6 on the season.
Despite struggling through a scoreless first quarter, which put them behind 15-0, the Lady Astros kept fighting back, outscoring the Lady ’Cane by a 27-21 margin over the next three quarters.
It was a combination of missed free throw chances (8 of 18 overall including three one and bonus opportunities) and 27 turnovers that derailed East Clinton’s comeback bid.
For Lady ‘Cane head coach Mark Short, the game mirrored the most recent effort against Miami Trace, which resulted in a come from behind victory by the Lady Panthers on Saturday.
“We just tried to put that emotional loss from Miami Trace behind us and what I was afraid might happen — nearly did,” said Short. “We came out and built the big lead and then it seemed like we quit playing. Then the momentum shifted to them (East Clinton) and we struggled and had to reach back for something extra.
“We have to play much smarter with a lead and be consistent each time down the floor. We did not manage our possessions well and we took some bad shots. We knew East Clinton was much better than the record indicates. Although they’ve been struggling lately they sure did not play like it tonight.”
For Lady Astros’ head coach Steve Gerber, it was small consolation that they lost the game — but his team never gave up, despite the big deficit at the start.
“I was really impressed with our effort. Making 27 turnovers certainly did not help, but we’re young and playing without two starters. We had others who accepted the challenge and stepped up tonight,” said Gerber. “The slow start just killed us and that blame falls back on me and the coaching staff. We’ve got to find a way to get us started and put some points on the board.”
Paige Lilly was the high scorer for East Clinton with nine points, followed by freshman Lacy Peterman with six points.
Wilmington’s Mya Jackson led all scorers with 24 points, including 11 in the first half and nine in the fourth quarter.
Jackson was the lone Lady ’Cane player with any field goals in the second half (four), while the remaining points for WHS came from the free throw line.
Wilmington converted nine of 15 free throw opportunities, including eight of 11 during the final period.
Non-starter Kate Jamiel added five points and she connected on both ends of a crucial two-shot free throw opportunity for WHS with just under two minutes remaining and Wilmington holding a 30-25 lead.
The Lady ’Cane turned it over 19 times, but committed only eight turnovers in the second half.
Both teams return to SCOL action on Saturday. East Clinton will host Greenfield McClain in an afternoon contest.
Wilmington will host Clinton-Massie in an evening contest at Fred Summers Court.
Dec 9, 2015
@East Clinton High School
Wilmington 36 East Clinton 27
(36) WILMINGTON (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Jackson 8-1-5-24, S. Johns 1-0-0-2, Sanderson 1-0-1-3, Jamiel 1-0-3-5, Frisco 1-0-0-2. Team Totals: 12-1-9-36.
(27) EAST CLINTON (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Lilly 3-0-3-9, Cooper 0-0-2-2, Logan Peterman 1-1-0-5, Hall 2-0-1-5, Lacey Peterman 2-0-2-6. Team Totals: 8-1-8-27.
Follow Bill on Twitter @learjet.