By Ho Hoffman
WADSWORTH — Wadsworth welcome to the real world of boys basketball.
After having a pair of “walk-over’s” against Cuyahoga Falls and Tallmadge and feeling pretty good about themselves, Barberton (3-0, 2-0) brought the Grizzlies (2-1-,1-1) down to earth Tuesday night with an easy 68-53 Suburban League victory.
The more experienced Magics played the role of the teacher in showing their students how you play against tough competition in meaningful games.
“Barberton took it to us tonight,” Wadsworth coach Mike Schmeltzer, Jr said. “They took advantage of our inexperience and came after us. It wasn’t that they had any surprises for us. We knew what to expect but just couldn’t react to it.”
Doing most of the teaching for the Magics was 5-foot-7 Anthony Keys. The senior point guard tallied 22 points, including a perfect 12-of-12 from the free-throw line. Keys scored 14 points in the final quarter.
“That is what a senior point guard is supposed to do, take over the fourth quarter,” Barberton coach Ken Rector said. “He is a two-year starter and been in these situations before and he just goes out and does a great job.”
Wadsworth made one futile run at the start of final period to get back in the game when a Josh Kipfer free throw cut Barberton’s lead to 42-37. However, two free throws from Keys and a trey from Eric Hummel (10 points, three treys) put the margin back to 47-37.
On the Grizzlies’ next possession Prescott Williams (26 points, 10 rebounds) was intentionally fouled. Not only did Williams miss both free throws but Wadsworth couldn’t score on the out-of-bounds play. It was the second time that scenario played out and on both occasions the Grizzlies didn’t get any points. Barberton however, scored five.
“That was typical of our problems tonight,” Schmeltzer said. “The first time it happens we are trailing 7-6, can’t score and Barberton hits a trey and we’re down 10-6. Then in the fourth quarter it is the same thing.”
Another area which bothered Wadsworth all night was free throw shooting. The Grizzlies were 8-of-18 while Barberton was 23-of-26.
With the Magics sharing the basketball and points among eight players they opened up quarter leads of 12-9, 28-20 and 42-36. Wadsworth made a couple of runs closing the gap to within three points at 36-33 and 38-35 but for the rest of the game, the Grizzlies were always at least two possessions down.
“Except for Williams and Kipfer nobody else has played in a tight varsity game.” Schmeltzer said. ‘We lost our composure and were not sure of what to do. We stopped moving the ball and that just shut our offense down.”
After Williams’ 26 points, Kipfer was next with seven. On the other hand, the Magics had five players with more than seven points as Eric Hummel (10) and Sam Jerome (11) joined Keys in double digits.
Barberton’s bench also outscored Wadsworth’s 16-5.
“That is a credit to our kids,” Rector said. “We have not practiced or played for three days, yet everybody starters and bench alike came out tonight ready to play.”
Freshman Martice Jackson with eight points led eight Wadsworth scorers as the Grizzlies took the junior varsity game 43-36.