Cardington ran into a buzzsaw on Wednesday at Westerville Central when they took on Wellington in a Division IV districtr semifinal, as the Jaguars jumped out to a fast start and never looked back in claiming an 80-43 win that ended Cardington’s season at 18-7.
Wellington jumped out to an 11-3 lead in the opening minutes of the game and never trailed, as Cardington couldn’t find a way to get defensive stops or make offensive plays with consistency.
“One of the keys to the game was don’t turn the ball over and I don’t know how many we had,” said head coach Rod Brown. “In the second half, we got going a little bit, but couldn’t stop them. I knew that they’re good, but didn’t think they’re 40 points better.”
In the first quarter, Luke McCarrell hit two three-pointers and Devin Pearl scored three points, but the team trailed 22-11 going into the second. Things got really bad for the Pirates in that quarter.
Baskets by Skyler Bowling and McCarrell kept Cardington within 11 at 26-15, but Wellington finished the quarter on a 21-point run to take a 32-point lead into the half. They would then open the third quarter with seven straight points to lead 54-15, essentially putting an end to Cardington’s hopes of a comeback.
Junior Garrett Wagner had a big second half for Cardington, hitting three three-pointers in the third quarter and tallying 10 of his team’s 13 in the fourth period, but the team would not be able to get closer than a 34-point margin after that extended Jaguar run.
“I just told the boys this can’t define our season,” said Brown after the game. “It can’t take away that we won our last 10 league games and were league champs.”
Playing a big role in Cardington’s success was a deep eight-man senior class. Brown could not give those players enough credit for his team’s strong season.
“I do want to thank our seniors,” he said. “They’re a great group of guys. They get along and even let the freshmen hang out with them. I thank them for their dedication. They did what I wanted — fast-paced tempo, shooting threes and winning games.”
One of the few underclassmen on the Pirate roster, Wagner, led the team with five three-pointers and 21 points. McCarrell added 12 and Devin Pearl scored eight.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS