MASON – With a strong finish, No. 4 seed Aiken defeated Wilmington 75-49 Saturday in a Division II Sectional tournament basketball game at Mason High School.
The loss ends the Hurricane season at 9-12.
WHS head coach Michael Noszka gave praise to the group of departing seniors, many of whom battled injuries at various times during the season.
“Each of them, Willie (Morris), Steven (Sweeney), Sam (Jacobyansky), Marko (Anicic), and John (Stewart), all had their share of adversity,” Noszka said. “You can see how it hampered our squad and the last two weeks of the season were the first time we could collectively practice with (all of) them taking part.”
Cam Coomer led Wilmington with 20 points. Sweeney finished with 10 points. Sweeney helped ignite the Hurricane second quarter comeback, scoring 10 points off the bench. He had two three-pointers in the second.
Aiken’s Jakada Stone led all scorers with 27, which included five treys. He carried the torch for the Falcons in the final period, accounting for 14 of the 33 points scored by the Falcons.
Aiken will move into the next round, facing McNicholas 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Mason.
Aiken scored the first 12 points of the game and seemed to be ready for a runaway win. Coomer tallied the first Hurricane points at the 3:14 mark of the opening period. At the quarter break, the Falcons were on top 16-6.
Wilmington got on track offensively in the second quarter, outscoring the Falcons 21-16 to make it 32-27 at halftime.
Matthew Butcher hit a jumper at the third quarter buzzer to get Wilmington within 42-39 going into the final period and their was hope of a WHS victory.
In the fourth, however, it was all Falcons as Aiken went on a 13-3 run to pull away as the final quarter unfolded.
“Today, it was a case of where we simply did not secure the ball,” said Noszka outside his team’s locker room following the contest. “We just did not get the ball when we needed to … grabbing loose balls, rebounds … and way too many turnovers (24). Things just did not go our way.”
Despite the lopsided final score, Noszka was proud of his team’s ability to battle back.
“We got it down to three at the end of the third, but could not get a stop on the other end, and they (Aiken) capitalized,” he said. “Like they have all year our kids played hard and kept battling, and we really had a chance to get the win, but let it slip away, “
February 23 2019
Div II Sectional
@Mason High School
Aiken 75 Wilmington 49
(75) AIKEN (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) D’Arris Dean 7-0-5-19, Cass 4-1-2-13, Stone 4-5-4-27, CJ Dean 2-0-3-7, Smith 0-0-0-0, Soloman 1-0-0-2, Bouldin 2-1-0-7.
Team Totals: 20-7-14-75.
(49) WILMINGTON (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Morris 1-0-0-2, Coomer 7-1-3-20, Sweeney 3-1-1-10, Jacobyansky 2-0-2-6, Anicic 0-0-0-0, Spears 0-0-0-0, Vilvens 0-0-0-0, Butcher 3-0-0-6, Stewart 1-0-0-2.
Team Totals: 17-2-9-49.
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.