Big Walnut boys pull away in 68-32 win over Utica
By GARY HENERY
News Managing Editor
The Golden Eagles weren’t about to let this one get away.
Big Walnut (1–1), leading 29–19 at the end of the opening half, outscored Utica 49–13 over the final two quarters to cruise to a 68–32 non-conference victory over the visiting Redskins in their home opener Monday night in Sunbury. The game marked Utica’s 2012–13 season opener
The Golden Eagles, sparked by the outside shooting 6-foot-1 senior Zach Laughman and the inside play of 6–6 senior Adam Shaheen who knocked down a two-handed slam dunk, hit six its first eight shots to open the second half to take a 43–21 lead and never looked back. Laughman, who led Big Walnut with 14 points, ignited the surge with three baskets before sinking a three-pointer from midcourt to send the hosts into the final period with a 23-point, 46–23 advantage.
“The third quarter was huge,” Big Walnut head coach Eric Myers said. “Our goal is to dominate on our home court, both offensively and defensively, and we accomplished that in the second half.”
The Golden Eagles did not let up. After hitting seven of 10 shots while limiting the Redskins to two baskets in 12 attempts in the third period, Big Walnut went on to can nine of 12 shots in the final quarter, including a run of three consecutive treys off the bench by Logan Boyd, Nick Herbert and Matt Tarney in a game-ending 19–2 run which put the hosts up 30 at 60–30 with 3:03 to play. The Redskins manage to convert three of 13 attempts in the period.
“We executed as a team in the second half,” Myers said. “We did a great job running our offense and we pretty much took Utica out of its game plan with our defense.”
A total off 11 players broke into the scoring column for Big Walnut. Shaheen backed Laughman with 13 points while 5–11 sophomore Michael Buckles and 5–11 junior Logan Boyd followed with 8 points apiece.
“We did a good job distributing the basketball and creating good shots,” Myers said. “And as a result we had tremendous scoring balance with 11 players scoring.”
Thanks to its 72.7 (16-for-22) second half shooting percentage, Big Walnut finished with a 27-for-47, 57.4 percentage for the game. The Golden Eagles shot 56.3 (9-for-16) from behind the arc. They were 5-for-7 at the foul line. Big Walnut committed only 12 turnovers in 56 possessions, losing only 5 points on its ball-handling errors.
Utica was led by 6–3 senior Luke Holmes who tallied 9 points. Classmates Broc Stradley followed with 8 and Seth Kirkendall with 4 points. No other Redskin scored more than 2 points.
The Redskins shot 27.9 percent on 12-for-43 shooting (2-for-14 from, 3-point range) and were 5-for-10 at the line. Utica turned the ball over 13 times, mistakes the Golden Eagles turned into 16 points.
Big Walnut returns to action Friday, hosting rival Olentangy in both team’s Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division opener in Sunbury. Tip-off time is 7:30 p.m. with the JVs getting underway at 6 p.m.