WHEELERSBURG – The Wheelersburg Pirates continued their winning ways Friday night, as they soundly defeated the Northwest Mohawks. As the Pirates were celebrating homecoming festivities, the Wheelersburg offense sent the basketball to its home numerous times.
Once the Pirate offense got rolling, there was nothing the Mohawks could do to stop them, as Wheelersburg defeated Northwest, 66-38.
Both teams were testing each other in the first few minutes of the game. Tanner Holden scored the game’s first basket with 5:25 left in the first quarter. From then, the Pirates would score the game’s next nine points, starting off on an 11-0 run, which included an Austin Lotspeich two-handed slam dunk that sent the Pirate faithful into a frenzy.
Northwest’s Billy Murphy scored the Mohawks’ first and only points of the first quarter, and stopped Wheelersburg’s run with 2:07 left in the period.
At the end of the first quarter, the Mohawks were looking at a steep 11-point deficit, as they trailed the Pirates 13-2.
The Mohawks offense hit a rhythm in the second quarter, and would score 11 points in the period, but the Pirate offense was just as effective in the second quarter as they were in the first.
At halftime, Wheelersburg held a commanding lead over Northwest 31-13.
Offensive woes found their way back to Northwest in the early parts of the second half. After the Wheelersburg fans were sent into another frenzy by a two-handed slam by Holden, Wheelersburg extended their lead over the Mohawks, 41-14, with 5:40 remaining in the third quarter.
At the end of the quarter, Wheelersburg held a 53-25 lead over Northwest.
The fourth quarter resembled the game’s three previous periods. The Pirates continued to score, while the Mohawks were limited in their offensive production. Ater the final buzzer, Wheelersburg picked up the win on homecoming, defeating Northwest 66-38.
The Pirates were led by Holden, who scored 18 points on the night, including the dunk in the third quarter. Holden was also impressive from the free throw line, hitting four of his five attempts.
Kaden Coleman finished a few points behind Holden, scoring 13 points against the Mohawks. Coleman was an essential part of the Pirates’ first quarter, scoring seven points.
Steven Ater’s squad had ten different players score on Friday night.
Northwest had one player break into double figures against the Pirates, Kaleb Smith. Smith finished the night with 14 points. He hit two three-pointers in the game, and was successful in four of his five free throw attempts.
“I thought our kids did a good job,” Ater said. “We got a lot of guys involved, and a lot of guys in the scoring column.”
Ater said his team shot the ball well throughout the night, and his team’s transition game was great. He was also proud of how unselfish his team played Friday night.
“It wasn’t our highest scoring output of the year, but I bet you we had the most assists tonight, just because we were so unselfish about making an extra pass,” Ater said. “That was really good to see.”
Northwest basketball coach Jerry Barlow said it’s obvious, to those watching his team play, that his squad young, and will need to continue to work to improve their game.
Barlow was happy with the way the game began, and thought his team was where it needed to be in the first few minutes.
“We came out, and as boring of a game as it is for a lot of people, when it was four minutes gone in the first quarter and it’s 2-0, we’re right where we need to be,” Barlow said. “We preach tempo, and you know, it’s not an exciting style of basketball, but we know we can’t get in a track meet, so to speak, with some of these teams. We just put ourselves in a real bind.”
Barlow also gave credit to the Pirates.
“They just have some really good players,” Barlow said. “That Holden kid is a handful.”
Despite the lob-sided loss, Barlow has seen a lot of improvement in his team, and expects them to work extremely hard through the rest of the season, as well as over the summer as they prepare for next season.
The Pirates have two more games in the next few days. After their win over Northwest on Friday, they will travel to South Point to take on the Pointers, Saturday evening. From there just a couple days later, they will then face-off against the Valley Indians Monday night at Valley High School, in a game that will have a huge impact on just who will win the SOC II title. Game time for Valley is set for about 7:30 p.m.
The Mohawks will host Whiteoak Tuesday evening at Northwest High School. Tipoff is set for around 7:30 p.m.
Wheelersburg – Holden 7-4-18, Coleman 6-1-13, Meadows 3-0-8, Lewis 2-0-6, Lotspeich 3-0-6, Davis 2-0-4, Bivens 2-0-4, Dyer 1-0-3, Stamper 1-0-2, Newsome 1-0-2
Northwest – Smith 4-4-14, Murphy 4-0-8, Rowe 2-0-6, Leslie 1-2-4, Hall 1-0-2, Spencer 1-0-2, Logan 0-1-1
Three-point field goals – Wheelersburg 5 (Meadows 2, Lewis 2, Dyer) Northwest 4 (Smith 2, Rowe 2)
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.