BW boys rally for 46-43 OCC Cap nod over ’Jackets
By GARY HENERY
News Managing Editor
Big Walnut, withstanding a late 11–0 Mount Vernon run which gave the Yellow Jackets a 43–42 lead with 1:24 to play, rallied for a 46–43 Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division victory over visiting Mount Vernon Friday night in Sunbury.
Senior Adam Shaheen, who led the Golden Eagles with 19 points, ended a five-possession Big Walnut scoring drought with a layin for a 44–43 advantage with 56 seconds remaining before sophomore Michael Buckles sank both ends of a one-and-one with 6 ticks left on the clock to seal BW’s first OCC victory of the season.
“This was a well-deserved win,” Golden Eagle head coach Eric Myers said. “It was a complete team effort at both ends of the floor against a good Mount Vernon team. We were patient on offense in looking for good shots and executed our defensive game plan.”
Tied with Mount Vernon (4–4, 1–3 OCC) with 3:41 left in the second quarter, Big Walnut (3–4, 1–3 OCC) closed out the first half with a 6–2 run. Shaheen counted a bucket and two free throws and senior Zach Laughman, who backed Shaheen with 16 points, added a basket to send the Golden Eagles into the intermission with a 24–22 lead.
“We picked up needed momentum at the end of the first half and carried it into the third quarter,” Myers said. “That turned out to be huge for us.”
The Golden Eagles picked up where they left off in the first half, fashioning an 18–10 run led by Shaheen’s 9-point spree — a quarter-ending run which gave Big Walnut a 10-point, 42–32 advantage on Laughman’s baseline lay-in with 6:06 remaining.
Mount Vernon was not about to go without a fight.
The Yellow Jackets rallied behind back-to-back three-point plays by sophomore Alex Arck, who led Mount Vernon with 15 points, and senior Duke Cunningham added 12 points along with senior Eric Ashbrook, to take its first lead of the second half, a 43–42 advantage on Cunningham’s basket with 2:37 to play. The Golden Eagles aided the Yellow Jackets’ run by committing four straight turnovers which led to 9 Mount Vernon points.
“We relaxed a little and lost some of our focus,” Myers said. “But we were able to refocus and keep Mount Vernon off the scoreboard over the final two minutes.”
Myers, who noted the BW varsity had finally overcame the flu bug, praised the defensive play of Chase LaVeer, Logan Boyd and Buckles.
“The contributions of Chase, Logan and Michael cannot be
overlooked,” he said. “They played key roles in the win.”
Big Walnut’s junior varsity made it a clean sweep with a 34–31 double-overtime decision over Mount Vernon.
“The JV’s win set the tone for the varsity.” Myers commented. “The varsity was cheering them on as they waited to take the floor.”
Big Walnut shot 42.1 percent (16-for-38) for the game, adding 13 of 16 free throws (81.3 percent). The Golden Eagles committed 7 turnovers at the expense of 11 points.
Mount Vernon made 15 of 42 shots from the field (35.7 percent) while converting 9 of 16 free throws (56.3 percent). The Yellow Jackets turned the ball over 8 times in 45 possessions, losing 7 points.
The Golden Eagles and Yellow Jackets cleared off 30 missed shots apiece. Shaheen pulled down 7 rebounds and Buckles 6 to lead Big Walnut on the boards. Sophomore Tyler Galbraith collected 6 and Arck 5 reboundss for Mount Vernon.
WATKINS MEMORIAL 58, BIG WALNUT 44 — Another slow first-half effort hampered the Golden Eagles in their bid for their first Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division victory of the season.
Big Walnut (2–4, 0–3 OCC) fell behind Watkins Memorial (3–3, 1–2 OCC) by nine points, 23–14, after the first 16 minutes and could never recover in dropping its third straight conference decision.
The Golden Eagles, powered by senior Adam Shaheen who scored 25 of Big Walnut’s points (six players accounted for BW’s remaining 19 points), came back out and put 30 second-half points on the board. Watkins Memorial countered with 35, including 20 in the final period, to put the game out of reach.
Junior guard Thomas O’Sickey fueled the Warrior attack with 21 points, counting three treys while converting 12 free throws. Junior Hunter Holton followed O’Sickey in double figures with 11 points. Senior forward Kevin Crawford added 9 points.