Mount Gilead used a 10-0 second quarter run to take a 12-point advantage into the half and then were able to withstand a scoring barrage from Cardington’s Garrett Wagner in the second half to claim a 67-56 win on Saturday.
Wagner finished with 32 points, 27 coming in the second half, but MG was able to boast balanced scoring and timely makes in holding on for the win.
“It’s been a while,” said Indian coach Tom Cooper, whose team hadn’t tasted victory since Dec. 12. “We haven’t been playing very well, so it’s goot to get a W and play pretty well. We were really pleased in the first half. We did good at containing Wagner. In the second half, we were fortunate we made shots because we couldn’t stop him.”
The first quarter was played within a margin of two to four points until the very end, when Jason Bolha drained a three-pointer to give the Indians a 17-12 lead after eight minutes of action. Brandon Stevens opened the second quarter with a three-point, but Cardington got a basket from Trey Brininger and three-pointer by Avery Harper to close within a 20-17 margin with 5:29 remaining in the half.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, they would not be able to light up the scoreboard for over four minutes. During that time, MG got two baskets by Mason Mollohan and three-pointers from both Adam Linder and Bolha to take a 13-point lead on their way to holding a 35-23 advantage into the half.
Cardington coach Rod Brown noted that MG simply shot the ball well, hitting eight three-pointers and connecting on over half their shots from the field.
“Their subs made threes, too,” he said. “I thought we played pretty good defense, but guys we didn’t expect to make shots made shots. How do you beat someone who shoots 58 percent or whatever? We had a couple lapses here and there, but they just hit good shots.”
Cooper felt that his less experienced players played a big role in the win.
“Tonight was by far the best flow and continuity we’ve had,” he said. “Other guys stepped up and made shots. I thought on both ends, our kids played as connected as they had all year.”
Wagner took over for the Pirates in the second half, scoring 11 points in the third quarter. However, Cardington only got two points from the rest of the team in that quarter and were only able to cut two points off their deficit over those eight minutes.
Trailing 51-39 after a Seth Young three-pointer, Cardington got a basket from Daniel Kill and three-pointer from Wagner to close within seven with 5:55 remaining. MG would come up big from long range, though, getting two three-pointers from Young and one more from Mollohan to increase their lead to 16.
While Wagner tallied 10 points over the final 2:07 of the game, the Indians were able to hold on to win by 11.
Brown felt his team played with the sort of intensity and urgency he wants to see over the final two minutes, but noted that for most of his players, the shots just weren’t falling down the stretch.
“We had other guys take good shots, but they weren’t going in,” he said.
Wagner led all scorers with 32 points, while Kill added nine and Brininger scored eight. Mount Gilead got 19 from Mollohan, 17 from Bolha, 13 from Young and nine from Linder.
“We like those lessons we learn in wins better than those learned in losses,” said a happy Cooper after the game. “We just have to keep getting better and I’m confident they will.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS