The Cavaliers took a 20-point lead at 53-33 into the fourth quarter and left their starters in until the score was 66-38 with a less than two minutes left. Chillicothe's top scorer on the night was Anthony Hitchens, who scored 11 points in the final period in the Cavs' 68-42 win.
“(Hitchens) is a very talented kid,” Wheelersburg coach Tom Barrick said. “He had 11 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, after the game was secured. So, I'll leave it at that.”
Hitchens wasn't the only Cavalier to do damage against the Pirates. Seth Dawes scored 12 points and Ray Chambers scored 11 with eight rebounds in the win.
The Cavaliers jumped out to a quick lead and retained it the entire game, trailing only 2-0 at the start. At the end of one quarter, the Cavs led 23-14 with half of the Pirates' points coming from senior Drew Spradlin. Spradlin finished with 18 points and six rebounds.
Spradlin would try to carry the Pirates but Wheelersburg could only stay within 10 for most of the first half.
“I thought the pace of the game in the first quarter got a little too fast,” Barrick said. “Having played a tough game and an emotional game last night, I thought that the pace wore on us. In the second quarter, when it got back down to a little bit better pace for us, (they outscored us) 13-12.”
The game that Barrick referred to was a 43-41 loss to Oak Hill on the road.
After that it was all Chillicothe. The Pirates hung with the Cavs until Hitchens started his team on a 10-0 run capped by a Chambers dunk to end the quarter.
“I thought we got a little tired in that third quarter and obviously they're very explosive,” Barrick said. “You make some physical and mental mistakes because you're a little fatigued then, in turn, they were able to get some quick transitions on us.”
The second quarter was the best one for the Pirates. Freshman Andy Stegman gave Wheelersburg a boost in that period, scoring six of his nine points. Stegman was the second-leading scorer for the Pirates.
But the Cavaliers' quick pace, six 3s, and big first quarter added up to more than the Pirates could overcome.
“If you give up 23 points in the first quarter, you're probably not going to win that game,” Barrick said. “That put us in a hole the entire game. We have to be conscious of our play and not get caught up in others play.
JOHN STEGEMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chillicothe 23 13 17 15 - 68
Wheelersburg 14 12 5 9 - 42
Chillicothe - Beverly 1 0 2, Knights 4 1 9, Turner 1 0 2, Hitchens 12 2 30, Dawes 5 0 12, Chambers 5 1 11, Newman 0 2 2. Totals 28 6 68.
Wheelersburg - Jenkins 1 0 3, Armstrong 0 2 2, Spradlin 8 0 18, Lang 2 0 4, A. Stegman 3 3 9, Robertson 1 0 2, M. Stegman 2 0 4. Totals 17 5 42.
3-pointers - Chillicothe 6 (Hitchens 4, Dawes 2); Wheelersburg 3 (Spradlin 2, Jenkins).
Records - Wheelersburg 2-2 (1-1 SOC II).