BW boys battle DI Wolves in 65-55 setback
By ERIC CLINE
For The Sunbury News
Big Walnut coach Eric Myers reminds his team often it’s a Division II team playing a great many Division I opponents, but you won’t find many as big as their opponent last Tuesday (January 15) night. The Golden Eagles had trouble against the size and athleticism of the Worthington Kilbourne Wolves and lost their non-league contest 65–55 at Big Walnut High School. “They’re a big team, but our kids battled,” Big Walnut coach Eric Myers said. “I was proud of how they battled tonight. I don’t feel that they ever gave up, but Worthington Kilbourne is very big and very athletic and we’re young. We just have to keep battling and playing hard.” Big Walnut (5–9) was definitely at a size disadvantage, and Worthington Kilbourne (5–8) exploited it at the start of both halves. The Wolves opened the game with an 18–10 first quarter and, after the Golden Eagles cut the deficit down to seven, 27–20, at the half, used 18–8 run in just under five minutes to take a 17-point edge. “That’s a big lineup when they can go 6–5, 6–5, 6–5 and 6–7 on you,” Myers said. “That’s a tall order to try and defend. They were a very physical, very athletic team. We gave up 18 points in the first quarter, got back to within seven at the half and then come out and get beat 19–9 in the third.” Worthington Kilbourne also flustered the Big Walnut offense with tenacious zone defense, pressuring the Golden Eagles throughout the game. The pressure was most evident in the first quarter, as the Wolves held Big Walnut to just one bucket on their first six shots and forced a pair of turnovers. But the Wolves’ third quarter run hurt most. Worthington Kilbourne scored on its first five possessions of the second half and eight of its first nine, helping them to their 45–28 lead with just over three minutes left in the third quarter. “They came after us tonight,” Myers said. “We burned a time out at the 4:48 mark of the third quarter after they’d scored 11 points on us. What concerned me was it seemed they were scoring at will and getting to the rim with it pretty easily. We have to be more disciplined and better defensively to stop those runs.” Still, the Golden Eagles wouldn’t go away. Kilbourne led by 17, 46–29, after three periods, but Big Walnut found more shot opportunities in the final period and chopped its deficit down to just eight points, 52–44, with 93 seconds left. In the final moments, though, the Eagles were forced to foul in the hope Kilbourne would miss their foul shots. They didn’t. Kilbourne went 17 of 23 from the foul line in the final quarter and hit their final 13 free tosses of the game to lock down the win. Senior Adam Shaheen had the hottest hand of any of the Golden Eagles, finishing with a game-high 25 points on the night. Senior Zach Laughman and junior Nick Herbert added a pair of threes each and sophomore Zach Asher had three buckets, all three players adding six points apiece. Kilbourne 6–5 wing Ryan Adolph led the way for the Wolves with 18 points, while 6–5 post Michael Chambers added 13 points. Seth Hill also had 10 for the visitors.
“If we just keep plugging away and keep chopping wood, those things will start going our way,” Myers said. “We’re playing a lot of Division I teams right now, but we need to remember that at the end of the season we get to go to the Division II tournament.”
OLENTANGY 78, BIG WALNUT 42 — The Braves used a huge first half to set the tone, handling the Golden Eagles in an Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division victory Friday in Lewis Center.
Olentangy (8–6, 6–2 OCC) outscored the Golden Eagles (5–10, 1–7 OCC) 25–11 in the opening period and 17–10 in the second quarter to take a 42–21 lead into the intermission. The Braves finished strong as well, winning the third quarter 14–11 and the fourth 22–10 to complete their winning performance.
Seth Clark led Olentangy with 21 points while Tyler Sobieray finished with 13 and Jim Gundling 11 in the win.
Big Walnut was paced by Adam Shaheen’s 14 points. Chaase LaVeer, counting two of the Golden Eagles’ three treys, followed with 8 points.