The Washington Blue Lions opened the SCOL slate for the still new season by hosting the defending SCOL champion Wilmington Hurricane, now in their second year in the SCOL.
The Blue Lions played a great first quarter and a solid second quarter, but, the second half belonged to Wilmington as the Hurricane posted a solid 66-49 victory Tuesday.
Wilmington is now 2-0 on the season, after opening with an 82-69 win over Cleveland Heights Friday night.
“We tried to play off some guys,” Washington head coach Shannon 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.
“They wore us down,” Bartruff said. “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.
“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,” Bartruff said. “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.”
“I want to give coach 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,” Noszka said. “That’s just unacceptable for us, I don’t care who we’re playing.
“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.”
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.
Wilmington went on an 11-2 run to tie the game, 22-22 with just over five minutes remaining in the first half.
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.
As the fourth quarter unfolded, Wilmington showed why they are the prohibitive favorite to win another SCOL title, as they outscored the Blue Lions, 21-9 to seal the 66-49 victory.
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.
Washington (1-2 overall, 0-1 in the SCOL) will play at Chillicothe Friday night. The j-v game starts at 6 p.m.
Chillicothe edged past Hillsboro Tuesday night, 64-60.
Wilmington will return to the court Friday when they host the McClain Tigers.
McClain defeated Clinton-Massie Tuesday, 60-52.
Blue Lions win j-v game against Wilmington
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.
Blaise Tayese had 10 points and Dillon Steward scored eight for the Blue Lions.
Layne Griffith led Wilmington with eight points and Je’Seus Harris had seven points.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
WCH 20 16 4 9 — 49
Wil. 11 22 12 21 — 66
WASHINGTON — 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.
WILMINGTON — Colt Smith 1-0-2; Nick Morris 0-0-0; Zack Eden 0-0-0; Layne Griffith 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