ATHENS — Garaway wasn’t shy in attempting — and making — the long ball on Wednesday.
The Pirates from Sugarcreek torched the nets inside the Convocation Center — to the Pirates from Wheelersburg’s detriment.
Wheelersburg saw its season come to an end with a 64-45 loss to Garaway in a Division III, Region 11 semifinal on the campus of Ohio University.
Garaway came out firing from beyond the three-point line, going 6-of-6 to start the game and help take a 25-15 lead into halftime.
By game’s end, Garaway connected on 12-of-16 three pointers — nine by the way of junior Drew Mullet.
Mullet finished with a game-high 27 points — as his nine-made three pointers set the Garaway High School single-game record.
Junior Alexander Roden made Garaway’s other three three-pointers, adding 24 points.
Roden and Mullet combined to score 51 of Garaway’s 64 points.
“We talked about pre-game that we couldn’t let them get comfortable and settle in. They certainly got comfortable and stayed that way,” Wheelersburg coach Steven Ater said, after the game. “Our guys were flying around out there, but Garaway did a good job of finding some seams, moving us around and finding the open spots.
Wheelersburg cut Garaway’s lead to as few as four points in the third quarter, but back-to-back threes by Mullet ended ‘Burg’s run.
Wheelersburg and Garaway played to a 25-25 draw in the second and third periods, but the Pirates from Sugarcreek won the first and fourth quarters by a 39-20 margin.
‘Burg senior Josh Clark led his team with 14 points.
Senior Braxton Rase scored eight points off the bench — including sinking ‘Burg’s lone made three of the game in the fourth quarter.
Seniors Eli Swords and Cooper McKenzie each scored four points for Wheelersburg.
Wheelersburg shot near 50-percent from the inside the three-point line (43.9-percent on 18-of-41 attempts), but wasn’t able to match the scoring pace Garaway set with its 12 made threes.
Garaway out-rebounded Wheelersburg 23-20, while Wheelersburg forced 12 Garaway turnovers and committed only nine.
Garaway also had five blocked shots in the game.
“With teams with that height, you have to try and get them off you. We were able to get into passing lanes and get deflections, got us out in transition and that gave us some easy opportunities,” Ater said. “But then their length, they were able to get some blocks on those opportunities which kept us from the scoreboard. If you get a couple of baskets in those situations, maybe things turn out differently with some pressure on them.”
Wheelersburg reached the Region 11 tournament with a run that featured a pair of upset wins (by seeding) in the Southeast District 1 bracket.
Coach Ater’s Pirates knocked off top-seeded and rival Minford with a 35-29 win — and followed that performance with a 64-47 runaway victory over Chesapeake for the district championship.
Swords, Clark, McKenzie and Rase were major contributors to the Pirates’ 2022 district championship run — and finish their high school careers seeing three Pirate district titles in their four seasons.
“Proud of these guys. A regular season where we had some struggles and adversity, fought injury. To form our identity and peak at the right time to get here, says a lot about this group and they’ve got a lot to be proud of,” Ater said. “The result’s not close to what we wanted, give Garaway credit for making shots.”
Garaway advances to the Region 11 championship, where it’ll meet Columbus Africentric.
Africentric defeated Fairland 51-43 in the first Region 11 semifinal from the Convocation Center on Wednesday.
Tip between the Pirates and Nubians is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 12.
Wheelersburg 8 7 18 12 — 45
Garaway 18 7 18 21 — 64
Wheelersburg (15-12) 45
Braxton Rase 2 3-3 8, Connor Estep 1 1-2 3, Josh Clark 7 0-0 14, Nolan Wright 0 2-2 2, Eli Swords 2 0-0 4, Owen Mault 0 0-0 0, Jackson Schwamburger 4 0-0 8, Tyler Sommer 1 0-0 2, Luke Swords 0 0-0 0, Cooper McKenzie 2 0-0 4, Kaden Johnson 0 0-0 0, Zavier Stanley 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 19 6-7 45; Three-point field goals: 1 (Braxton Rase 1)
Garaway (21-4) 64
Drew Mullett 9 0-0 27, Logan Yoder 0 0-0 0, Alexander Roden 10 1-2 24, Brady Roden 2 1-2 5, Jarett Wallick 0 1-2 1, Jenson Garber 0 1-2 1, Brendan Chapman 0 2-2 2, Sam Page 0 0-0 0, Blaine Raber 0 0-0 0, Gabe Amicone 1 0-0 2, Wyatt Wallick 0 0-0 0, Jackson Reifenschneider 1 0-0 2, Trace Gibson 0 0-0 0, Bronson Speedy 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 23 6-10 64; Three-point field goals: 12 (Drew Mullett 9, Alexander Roden 3)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved