March 8, 2014
PDT Sports Contributor
The seventh-seed Wheelersburg Pirates upset No. 3 Chesapeake 57-52 in a Division III District Semifinal match at the Convocation Center in Athens Friday night.
The Pirates scored first against the Panthers and never relinquished the lead. Wheelersburg coach Steven Ater was please with his team’s execution throughout the contest.
“I’m just proud of our kids, they executed our game plan,” Ater said. “That’s one thing we talked about: We had an idea about how we wanted to approach playing them, they’re so well coached, so we wanted to do some things early to get us settled into a flow. I feel like Dylan Miller really got us established.”
A total of six Wheelersburg players scored in the game compared to Chesapeake’s eight scorers, but three Pirate players scored in double-digits, whereas only one did so for the Panthers.
Wheelersburg’s three leading scorers combined for 47 of the 57 points: Dylan Miller led all scorers with 20, J.D. Widdig had 16, and Jacob Spradlin added 11 points.
“It’s no secret those are our three guys we look to give us most of our offense, but you need other guys to step up also,” Ater said. “[Austin] May played really well and had some big baskets in the second half, which kind of got us going through a tough stretch. I was proud of him, as a guy like that coming of the bench to give that kind of production.”
Spradlin scored five and Miller scored four in the first quarter, after which the Pirates led the Panthers 13-7. In the second quarter, Miller scored nine of Wheelersburg’s 11 points to give the Pirates a 24-16 lead at halftime.
The Panthers were down 28-18 in the third quarter before they made a 7-0 run to bring the deficit to within 3 points. However, the Pirates finished the quarter on a 7-2 run of their own to widen their lead back to an eight-point margin at 35-27.
Chesapeake scored two consecutive “old-fashioned” three-point plays to open up the final quarter of regulation, bringing the score to within two at 35-33. This would be the closest the Panthers would come to the Pirates though, as Miller hit a three-pointer, followed by a three by Widdig that completely erased the momentum that Chesapeake entered the quarter with. After this exchange, the Pirates led by as much as 14 before some late baskets by Chesapeake narrowed the deficit back to four points.
The Pirates will return to the “Convo” to face the Proctorville Fairland Dragons Sunday at 2:00 p.m.