PDT Sports Contributor
SOUTH WEBSTER — The Wheelersburg Pirates defeated the South Webster Jeeps Friday night by a score of 64-57. The game was physical and scrappy, with technical and flagrant fouls being handed out by the officials.
The first quarter begun with South Webster’s Shane Zimmerman hitting two quick three point shots. The Jeeps came out firing, and Wheelersburg took a quick timeout to stop the momentum. They came out of the break with the full court press and it worked to perfection for the Pirates. They went on a 15-0 run and forced five Jeep turnovers before the end of the first. The score after one was 19-12 with Wheelersburg leading.
Alek Blevins got into foul trouble early for the Jeeps and saw no action until the third quarter. Both teams were in the double bonus each half, amounting to a fair amount of free throws on each side. Wheelersburg’s Tanner Holden carried the Pirates on the night, penetrating throughout the night and totaling 28 points. At the end of the half the score was 36-27 Wheelersburg.
Zimmerman left the game in the third quarter due to foul trouble. The Jeeps managed to rally without him, cutting into the Pirate lead towards the end of the third quarter. Emotions ran heavy throughout the game, which was evident when Austin Lotspeich got teed up by an official for hanging on the rim during a botched dunk attempt. Wheelersburg’s Tanner Bivens was also given a technical on the night, and two South Webster players were given flagrant fouls. Towards the end of the third it was apparent Pirate’s Holden was tired, as he was given up the ball and forcing some shots inside. By the end of the third the Pirate lead was just 46-42.
Wheelersburg slowly pulled away in the fourth quarter. Lotspeich got his revenge as he slammed home the ball after a Jeep turnover. Kyle Davis steadied his team, keeping them as cool and composed as possible. With a five point lead and a minute and 20 seconds to go, Jeep’s Shonkweiler committed a flagrant foul on Tanner Holden to seal the game for the Pirates. When the buzzer finally sounded the score was 64-57.
Wheelersburg Head Coach Steve Ater was pleased with his team’s effort, even if it may have gotten overly emotional at times.
“It was a hard fought game,” said Ater. “We had a chance to put the game away in the third quarter but we didn’t do it. Give South Webster credit for sticking around. But, there was too many emotional plays out there but there is an upside to that. Our energy was really high and really good and it helped us push through. Kyle Davis was great leadership wise late in third and in the fourth when we were struggling. He was calming guys down and grabbing guys getting them to collect themselves. That is leadership.”
“Tanner Holden played well. He had 28 points but at times his turnovers and decision making wasn’t the best. Coleman was good, Lotspeich had some good moments, and a bunch of other guys performed for us tonight. Lotspeich just needs to understand the flow of the game and understand that there is going to be good and bad. When it’s good you have to stay with it and when it’s bad you have to turn it around. He needs a breather every now and then to remember that but he is a difference maker out there anchoring our defense. He’s important because our guys know that when someone gets to the paint he’s going to deter some shots.”
Wheelersburg travels to Minford on Tuesday to take on defending SOC champion Falcons.
“We have to work on everything to get ready for Minford. They were champs for a reason and they have tremendous players. There’s a ton we have to get better on, but tonight, a win is a win and we will take it.”
South Webster hosts the Waverly Tigers on Tuesday. Tipoff is at 7:30.
Reach Derrick Parker at email@example.com or on twitter @DC__Parker
South Webster 12 15 15 15 — 57
Wheelersburg 19 17 10 18 — 64
Wheelersburg: Holden 28, Davis 15, Coleman 12, Lotspeich 6, Bivens 3;
South Webster: Zimmerman 20, Bennington 13, Wolfenbarker 6, Shonkwiler 6, Hadinger 6, Coriell 4, Blevins 2,