HAMILTON — Wilmington survived a scare from Fairfield here Friday night as the upset-minded Indians stayed close with the Hurricane before Wilmington pulled away for a 72-60 win in a Div. I sectional championship game at Hamilton High School.
Wilmington advances to the district championship game 1 p.m. March 5 against Mason at Wright State’s Nutter Center.
Jarron Cumberland, who led all scorers with 39 points, had a huge fourth quarter, scoring 17 as Wilmington pulled away from Fairfield (12-13) in the closing minutes.
“Give Fairfield a lot of credit, they really tested us tonight,” said WHS head coach Mike Noszka.
Wilmington jumped out to a 28-14 first quarter lead, but the second and third quarters belonged to the Indians. They outscored WHS in the middle periods by a combined 29-21. It was 49-43 Hurricane going into the final period.
“The farther you go in the tournament, you’re going to play teams that don’t quit,” said Noszka. “They were vested in what they do. Fairfield battled back to defeat two teams (Northwest and Kings) and they’re not gonna lay down and die. We’ve got to do a better job in everything we do. We must make our shots, hit our free throws and most of all execute. At times tonight, we did not accomplish that.”
The Hurricane were resilient of nothing else on a night when other parts of their game weren’t clicking on all eight cylinders. Wilmington fell behind 43-42 when TC Wells gave the Indians their only lead at the 5:55 mark of the third.
WHS regained the advantage with a 7-0 run the remainder of the period.
“I’m proud of my kids because they stayed with it, even after being challenged,” said the WHS head coach. “Chris (Wolary) hit a couple of big 3s for us and a key baseline jumper. When the game is on the line, we’ve got to get the ball in No. 34’s (Cumberland) hands. He took control of the game down the stretch and played great in the fourth quarter.”
Cameron Stewart helped ignite Wilmington’s first quarter spurt with a 12 of his 14 points, including a trio of three pointers. Wolary added eight points and Dylan Beaugard scored seven for WHS.
Leading scorer for the Indians was Mitchell Woods with 16 points, while Cedric Woods added 14 and Ben Phillips chipped in with 13 points.
“This was a good test for us tonight and we know that teams are going to be ready for us,” said Noszka. “We must keep improving, maximize our opportunities and play consistently in all four quarters to keep winning. We got away from doing what we are supposed to and Fairfield capitalized in the second and third periods. We can’t keep doing that and our defensive effort must get better.”
Feb 26, 2016
@Hamilton High School
Wilmington 72 Fairfield 60
(60) FAIRFIELD (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Wells 3-2-3-11 M. Woods 5-2-4-16 Kidd 0-0-0-0 C. Woods 4-4-2-14 Phillips 5-0-3-13 O’Donnell 0-0-0-0 Givens 1-0-0-2 Spaulding 0-0-0-0 Mitchell 0-0-0-0 Carmack 1-0-2-4 Waddell 0-0-0-0. TOTALS 19-8-14-60
(72) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Stewart 5-3-1-14 Miller 1-0-0-2 Beaugard 3-0-1-7 Cumberland 12-3-12-39 Wolary 2-2-2-8 Morris 0-0-0-0 Merritt 0-0-0-0 Jones 0-0-0-0 Wright 0-0-0-0 Smith 0-0-0-0 Mansfield 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 24-8-16-72
FIELD GOALS: F 19-49 (M Woods 5-12 C Woods 4-13 Phillips 5-5); W 24-46 (Cumberland 12-24 Stewart 3-5 Beaugard 3-5 Wolary 2-2)
3 PT FIELD GOALS: F 8-20 (C Woods 4-7); W 8-19 (Stewart 3-5 Cumberland 3-11 Wolary 2-2)
FREE THROWS: F 14-15 (M Woods 4-4); W 16-21 (Cumberland 12-15 Wolary 2-2)
REBOUNDS: F-23 (Wells 7 M Woods 5); W-31 (Cumberland 7 Miller 6 Beaugard 6 Stewart 5 Wolary 2)
ASSISTS: F-8 (C Woods 3 M Woods 2); W-12 (Beaugard 4 Stewart 4 Cumberland 2 Miller 2)
STEALS: F-7 (M Woods 3 C Woods 3); W-8 (Miller 4 Beaugard 2)
BLOCKED SHOTS: F-0, W-2 (Miller 1 Cumberland 1)
TURNOVERS: F-11, W-12
Bill covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @learjet and @dliermann.