overcomes early hole, holds on to beat WHHS

overcomes early hole, holds on to beat WHHS

Image Credit: Justin Smith

West Holmes led Wooster by double digits midway through the first quarter, but the Generals battled back to take a two-point lead into halftime.

Wooster never trailed in the second half but had to withstand a late Knights rally to earn a 44-42 victory in Ohio Cardinal Conference boys basketball action on Dec. 13 at West Holmes High School.

Here are some takeaways from the game:

Wooster shakes off
sluggish start

The Generals trailed 10-0 with just over three minutes left in the first quarter despite dominating the glass. They had multiple offensive rebounds in the first quarter but failed to capitalize on several of their second-chance opportunities.

That started to change some after Wooster coach Michael Snowbarger called a timeout with his team down 10 points. The Generals ripped off the next six points and went into the second quarter down 14-8. Finishing easy looks at the rim was key to them getting back into the game.

“We’ve been trying to figure out how to get second-chance buckets and transition points,” Snowbarger said. “I thought we did a little bit better in transition and obviously offensive rebounds. That activity is going to help us a ton. I’d like to see us finish a little bit more on the offensive rebounds, but the second-chance buckets and second-chance opportunities are going to be huge for us because we do have some size. If we continue to stay active, that’s going to win us some games down the road.”

West Holmes keeps
fighting

The Knights trailed 38-31 entering the fourth quarter but cut their deficit to two points with just over four minutes remaining in the game. Wooster extended its lead back out to six points with 52 seconds left, but West Holmes kept battling and had a chance to win the game when Zevin Proper put up an off-balance 3-pointer in the final seconds. His shot was off the mark, though, as the Generals let out a loud sigh of relief.

It has been a bit of a frustrating start to the season for the Knights, who dropped to 0-5 overall and 0-3 in the OCC with the loss. It’s encouraging, though, that they’re continuing to fight until the final buzzer despite things not going their way so far this season.

“Guys are working hard,” West Holmes coach Seth Martin said. “We’re seeing improvement every game. I feel bad for the guys because we played our tails off tonight and competed for the whole game. I thought we competed for the whole 32 minutes. We just have some things that we need to continue to clean up.

“As coaches, we have every bit of confidence that our guys can stay together and keep working together and get this thing turned around rather quickly.”

Wooster’s late-game execution needs work

The Generals didn’t do themselves any favors in the final minute of the game, missing the front end of consecutive one-and-ones and missing both shots of a double bonus.

It wasn’t all bad for Wooster, which did a nice job of moving the basketball in the final two minutes to drain some time off the clock.

“I thought we did a good job with patience and not turning the ball over necessarily (late in the game), but from the free-throw line, (it was) not a great job,” Snowbarger said. “We need to close out games, especially on the road. In close games, that can’t continue to happen. Come tournament time, that definitely can’t happen. You have to be able to make free throws and close out basketball games.”

Knights’ Wolfe, Generals’ Bowen shine

Wolfe has been a bright spot for West Holmes to start the season, and he continued that against Wooster. The senior scored a game-high 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting and led all players with 11 rebounds.

His biggest play of the game came with 28 seconds left and the Knights trailing 44-40. Wolfe grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled while putting up a shot. He then sank both free throws to make it a one-possession game.

“Mason is our quarterback,” Martin said. “He’s a smart player. He’s smart on the football field. He’s smart on the basketball court. Mason is one of those guys who is deceptively athletic. He’s not going to jump out of the gym, but he runs well and moves laterally well. Around the rim, he has very nice moves and a very nice touch. He’s on the verge of getting double-doubles every night.”

Nate Fair added 10 points and six boards, and Proper had eight points for the Knights. Zander Shultz, one of WH’s top players, missed the game due to an illness.

After not scoring for the first 12 minutes of the game, Bowen got going midway through the second quarter. He scored Wooster’s final eight points of the quarter, hitting two 3-pointers and scoring once at the rim.

The senior added five points in the third and four in the fourth to finish with a team-high 17 points.

“Blake has been great for us this year,” Snowbarger said. “He’s become more of a true basketball player. Blake’s a great baseball player. He’s going to Kentucky. But he’s showing he can be a basketball player, too, because he’s doing a lot of things other than just standstill shooting this year.”

Anthony Sines (seven rebounds) and Bron Morgan scored six points each.