WOOSTER — There was no doubt what led to Black River’s 58-39 loss to Tuslaw in the Wooster Division III Sectional Monday night.
In no particular order – fouls, turnovers and Jake Warth.
Warth of Tuslaw scored 22 points and went 17-of-18 from the line, including 14-of-14 in the fourth quarter, as the Mustangs outlasted and outshot the Pirates. The Pirates committed 24 fouls which sent Tuslaw to the line 34 times and the Mustangs converted 27 of them. Black River also committed 21 turnovers which led to 17 Tuslaw points. In a game where Black River trailed
21-17 at halftime, all three factors loomed large afterwards.
“We didn’t play the way that we have,” said Black River coach Donald Brunker. “We couldn’t get shots to fall. We didn’t protect the ball and we sent them to the line way to much. You just don’t win games like that no matter how hard you try.”
Black River (8-13) had some success in the first half and briefly led 16-15 with 3:33 left in the first half following a put back by Joe Tutie. Tuslaw answered with a 6-1 run that gave the Mustangs the four-point advantage (21-17) at the break.
Tuslaw (8-13) scored the first points of the second half on a basket by Graham Burrow but the Pirates pulled to within 23-21 on baskets by Jake O’Connor and Jon Sas. Tuslaw stopped the run with a Nate Getz free throw and scored seven of the next eight points to take a 30-22 lead into the final quarter.
Warth opened the final quarter with a 3-pointer but Black River answered. Baskets by Brian Clements and Dean Finkel cut the deficit to 33-27 and had the Pirates thinking comeback.
Unfortunately for Black River, that’s when Warth took over.
Warth went 10-for-10 from the line over the next two minutes as Tuslaw pushed its lead out to 47-31 with 4:22 remaining. Warth, who has made 20 or more free throws four times this season, was not the guy Black River wanted to send to the line.
“Definitely not who we wanted to send there,” said Brunker. “But give him credit. He knew we were going to have to foul and he made sure he had the ball in his hands when he did. He made us pay.”
Jon Tutie led the Pirates with 10 points while Finker and Sas each finished with seven.
Contact Hans Schneider at (440) 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.