JACKSON – The Wheelersburg Pirates set a nice tone in their sectional tournament opener Wednesday night at Jackson High School. The Pirates opened up tournament play against the win-less Rock Hill Redmen. The ailing Redmen found no solace Wednesday night however, as Wheelersburg unleashed its offensive might against Rock Hill.
As three Pirates broke the double figure threshold, Wheelersburg sailed on to victory over the Redmen 63-36, to pick up their win in the semi-final round of the sectional tournament.
“It was good to get a win and just be able to come back and play again on Saturday,” Wheelersburg coach Steven Ater said. “You’re fighting for tomorrow at this point of the season, and just trying to extend your season another day. We did that tonight, so we’ll see what shakes out here and who we’re going to play on Saturday.”
It didn’t take long for the Ater and the Pirates to find out who their next opponent would be. In the second game of the night at Jackson High School, the Ironton Fighting Tigers defeated the Nelsonville York Buckeyes. Wheelersburg and Ironton will face off against each other to find out which team will be the sectional champion and move on to play at the Convocation Center in Athens.
“It’s going to be a big game, no matter what, because it’s a chance to go to Athens,” Ater said.
Three different Wheelersburg players reached double figures in the Pirates’ win over Rock Hill to move on to face Ironton. Kyle Davis led the Pirates with 16 points on the night. Davis had a pair of scores totalling five points in the first quarter to help set the tone of the night for the Pirates.
Kaden Coleman finished with 13 points for Wheelersburg, scoring six of his 13 points in the first quarter.
Tanner Holden rounded out the trio, as he added 12 points in the win over the Redmen. Holden had a great first half, scoring 10 points, and shooting 80% from the free throw line.
“We had some good spurts of energy, and I thought Tanner Holden was good early,” Ater said. “Kyle was very good. Kyle was really getting in the middle of their zone, and hit a shot early on. Kaden was on the offensive glass, and did a nice job there.”
Ater added while his team got some early offense going in the game Wednesday night, he felt his team’s defense gave up too much middle penetration.
“It’s hard to harp on too many things right now after a win,” Ater said.
The first game of tournament play is sometimes one of the toughest games of the year, according to Ater.
“You don’t know what to expect, and what is going to happen, especially for a young and inexperienced team,” Ater said. “It was a good way to just tip our toes into the water for tournament play. Every game gets more intense and tougher, opponent wise, as you go. We did what we had to do to win.”
Now, the Pirates are focused on the Ironton Fighting Tigers who stand in the way of Wheelersburg obtaining another sectional championship, and moving on to play at the Convocation Center in Athens.
“Your focus is on what’s in front of you,” Ater said. “If you look anywhere else down the line or any other direction, then you’re going to step up and get beat, and then your season is over. There’s no other reason to look at anything other than what’s directly in front of you, and what you can control. We only control our path. We don’t control who we play. You just control trying to stay alive for another day.”
Wheelersburg – Davis 5-5-16, Coleman 5-3-13, Holden 4-4-12, Bivens 3-0-7, Lotspeich 3-0-6, Dyer 2-1-5, Meadows 1-0-3, Lewis 1-0-3
Rock Hill – Darby 11-2-24, Bacorn 1-3-5, Turvey 1-0-3, Barnette 1-0-2, Reed 1-0-2
Three-point field goals – Wheelersburg 4 (Davis, Bivens, Meadows, Lewis) Rock Hill 1 (Turvey)
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.