June 25, 2016


Call him Austin White, Mr. Rainmaker

WADSWORTH — Austin White didn’t know or care how many 3-pointers he was raining from every conceivable angle Saturday night.

The only thing going through the sophomore’s mind was how ticked off his Wadsworth boys basketball team was.

Wadsworth's Austin White runs through the defense of Orriville's Bryce Short during the first half. (AARON JOSEFCZYK / GAZETTE)

With White’s sweet-stroking jumper pumping through the points, the Grizzlies got back to raising Kane in an efficient, unselfish and entertaining 67-51 non-league win over Orrville.

It was a textbook example of how to bounce back, as Wadsworth (11-10) was 24 hours removed from a highly frustrating 40-32 loss at rival Highland.

“We were down after the loss (Friday). It was a big loss,” White said. “We just came out wanting to prove a point that we should have won that game, so we wanted everyone to make shots and we did.”

The 6-foot-3 White finished with a career-high 28 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. He was 7-of-13 from 3-point range — coming within one trifecta of the school record — and put the Grizzlies, who scored 16 or more points in each quarter, in complete control with a 9-2 personal run in the third quarter.

Power forward Kyle Prunty added 15 points and 12 rebounds, backup center Jimmy Elchlinger had four points, two boards and two steals in the second quarter and point guard Tucker Robinson added a 5-1 assist-to-turnover ratio off the bench as Wadsworth’s relentless 2-2-1 press and outstanding transition offense wore down the Red Riders (5-16).

It was an all-around great night for the Grizzlies, who erupted with joy when senior Dylan Galford hit their season-high 11th 3-pointer — it was his first career bucket — with 48 seconds left.

“They were going out there and playing hard,” coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. said. “They did everything we wanted them to do from the start.”

Wadsworth, which made 24-of-49 field goals after going 10-of-41 against Highland, established tempo right away and forced seven Orrville turnovers en route to a 19-10 lead. White had nine points in the quarter, but he was just heating up as snow came down in bunches outside Wadsworth High.

Coming off screens for long-range connections in the corners, White drilled two more 3-pointers in the second quarter. The All-Gazette football player then canned three bombs on consecutive possessions, including two in transition, to give Wadsworth a 49-31 lead in the third.

White had two looks to match history in the fourth, but his first attempt from the top of the arc was a tad long and his second rattled out from the elbow extended.

The only person not impressed with the effort was White.

“It’s not really a big deal,” he said. “All I care about is the ‘W.’”

Schmeltzer was more than pleased.

“When Austin catches the ball and squares up, he can flat-out shoot it,” he said.

The Red Riders were led by 15 first-half points from Alexander Smith. Point guard Bryce Short added three points, five rebounds and three assists and Jonathan Landis had 13 points, but Orrville struggled to match Grizzlies big men Prunty, Elchlinger and Nathan Pound, as they nearly matched the Red Riders’ 22 rebounds.

Maybe more pressing, though, was the simple fact it wasn’t going to be a fun night playing against an opponent with a chip on its shoulder.

The message was clearly sent.

“At the varsity level with so many good players out there, you’ve got to come hard every night,” Schmeltzer said. “You’ve got to expect every team’s best every evening. We came out and we played hard, and it appeared we had put (Friday) in the past, which is a great thing. It means we’re growing up as a team.”

Albert Grindle About Albert Grindle

Albert Grindle is a sportswriter for the Gazette. He can be reached at 330-721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.