WHEELERSBURG — The Wheelersburg Pirates defeated the Oak Hill Oaks Friday night by a score of 49-39. The game featured Wheelersburg’s post play pitted against the constant ball movement of the Oaks. Austin Lotspeich led all scorers with 15 on the night, racking up rebounds and a couple blocks in the winning effort.
Mitchell Hale hit two quick three pointers to start the game giving the Oaks an 8-6 advantage. Coming out of a timeout, Wheelersburg started feeding the post with Lotspeich and Coleman, grinding out a 7-0 run to end the first quarter. The score after one was 13-8 with Wheelersburg in the lead.
Held scoreless in the first, the Carroll brothers started to heat up in the second quarter. Despite that, Wheelersburg continued to get second and third shot opportunities. The stat of the game was free throw shooting: Wheelersburg made 22 of 30 free throws on the night, while Oak Hill made 3 of 6. The score at the half was 22-16.
Oak Hill came out on fire in the third quarter. They went on a 14-7 run thanks to their constant ball movement and screens for both Landon and Nolan Carroll. The Oaks zone defense bothered the Pirates shooters much of the night. Despite the run, Wheelersburg managed to score with seconds to go in the quarter and retain their advantage by one point, 31-30.
Momentum swung in Wheelersburg’s favor after that. They started on a 7-2 run, with Lotspeich hitting a three in the corner. The Pirates took their time from then on, effectively killing the clock. The play of the game was an inbounds pass from Lotspeich to Davis as the senior leader sneakily cut to the basket for an and one layup. After that, it was just a matter of hitting free throws for the Pirates.
Wheelersburg’s Head Coach Steven Ater was very pleased with his kids’ performance after the game.
“I’m very proud of our effort,” said Ater. “I thought the kids sold out. I thought that they played with guts, and they made the little plays that make a difference in a win. Some games I don’t think that we make enough of those plays. That’s leadership. Everyone sold out and boxed out and it was truly teamwork tonight.”
“Keaton, Austin and Kaden were all phenomenal tonight inside for us. They went to war. They are banged up, they got to the line a lot and they worked for us. Give our guards credit, though, they were feeding the post and selfless. Our game plan was to run through the paint and post up tonight and the guards had to take joy in assists instead of a bunch of points. I thought Kyle was good for us, Tanner was solid controlling the ball in the fourth quarter and not turning the ball over, and I’m just really proud of the effort. The five guys on the floor and everyone on the bench was plugged in and that’s great.”
“We missed a ton of shots. But if you play hard and try to get to the rim you are going to get free throw opportunities and second chance plays. It gives you a chance to really hang in games. Our effort was there tonight, and we are going to keep working at it because we have a huge week ahead of us.”
Wheelersburg travels to Northwest on Tuesday. They travel to Waverly on Friday and host the Ironton Tigers Saturday. Each game starts at 7:30.
Wheelersburg 13 9 9 18 — 49
Oak Hill 8 8 14 9 — 39
Wheelersburg: Lotspeich 15, Coleman 12, Davis 10, Holden 9, Lewis 3
Oak Hill: N. Carroll 14, L. Carroll 9, Hale 7, Fleming 4, Swann 3, Kallner 2
Reach Derrick Parker at [email protected] or on twitter @DC__Parker