MACEDONIA — Wadsworth boys basketball coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. knows it’s hard to define a team after five games.
That said, he believes the Grizzlies found their defining moment of the season Friday.
Wadsworth played a complete game in handing Nordonia its first loss of the season with a 65-47 Suburban League victory.
It came with a dominant performance on the boards, as the Grizzles outrebounded the Knights 45-22. It came with some stellar defense — Nordonia shot 33 percent (16-of-49) — as Wadsworth beat the Knights for the first time since they joined the league two years ago.
And it came with a big game from Grizzlies center Kyle Prunty, who led Wadsworth with 22 points and 20 rebounds.
The loss by the Knights was just their second in 31 SL games since rejoining the league in 2011.
“We’re getting there,” Schmeltzer said. “After the Green game on Tuesday (a 50-29 loss), offensively we needed to find an identity and our big push was transition. I feel that’s where we can be good.
“We have athletic kids who can see the floor well. Tonight, it was as good as I’ve seen us. To come over and get a win against a good team and well-coached team, it was a defining moment.”
While Prunty wasn’t all the Grizzlies (3-2, 2-1) needed against the Knights (3-1, 2-1) — Austin White had 12 points and Barry Fernholz added nine points and a team-high four assists — the big man was almost enough.
He came out on a mission with seven points and 11 rebounds in the first 16 minutes and had Wadsworth up 27-17 by halftime.
“Before the game, I looked at Kyle and Kyle looked at me and he said, ‘I’m ready,’” Schmeltzer said. “I think he showed it tonight.”
Prunty wasn’t just a beast on the boards and in the paint, as he spearheaded a defense that had the Knights guessing all evening. The Grizzlies broke out in 3-2, 2-3, 1-2-2, diamond-and-one and man-to-man defenses to keep Nordonia on its heels every step of the way.
Showing that strong defense and adding impeccable shooting in the third quarter, Wadsworth was able to put things away early. In the period, the Grizzlies shot 80 percent (8-for-10) from the field and pushed the 10-point advantage to 18 after 24 minutes of play.
“Our defense was good, but I was happy to see our team change defenses on the fly and not have miscommunication,” Schmeltzer said. “It takes a lot away from an offense when every time they come down the floor, they don’t know what’s coming.
“Our kids did a great job of getting to the spots they needed to be in. We stress the importance of a good shot vs. a great shot, and all 10 of those shots were great shots.”
With a non-conference game against Kent Roosevelt next up, Prunty is looking for his team to continue its momentum by playing exactly like it did against Nordonia.
“(Schmeltzer) got us prepared very well, and we did what we needed to do to win this one,” Prunty said. “Tonight we saw what we could do, and we did it against a good team. Hopefully, we can come back with something stronger. I don’t see anything stopping us.”
|Wadsworth’s junior varsity made it a clean sweep with a 58-50 victory. Daniel Wienerman led the way with 14 points and was supported by Cameron Deemer (12 points) and Alec Booth (11).|
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wadsworth 65, Nordonia 47
WADSWORTH 16 11 20 18 — 65
NORDONIA 8 9 12 18 — 47
Wadsworth — Austin White 4-2-12, Joel Kipfer 2-0-4, Kyle Prunty 8-6-22, Anthony Palecek 2-0-5, Patrick Long 2-0-4, Tyson Heideman 1-2-4, Barry Fernholz 3-1-9, Nick Hewitt 0-0-0, Jimmy Elchlinger 1-0-2, Ben Bingham 1-0-3. TOTALS: 24-11-65.
Nordonia — Alex Alders 1-2-5, Diallo Niamke 0-0-0, Brandon Gamble 3-1-7, Max Hartman 3-0-7, Eli Linder 5-5-17, David Murray 2-0-5, Ryan Smith 1-0-3, Billy White 1-1-3. TOTALS: 16-9-47.
3-point goals — White 2, Fernholz 2, Palecek, Bingham, Linder 2, Hartman, Murray, Smith, Alders. Rebounds — Wadsworth 45 (Prunty 20), Nordonia 22 (Alders 6). Assists — Wadsworth 19 (Fernholz 4), Nordonia 10 (White 3, Linder 3). Records — Wadsworth (3-2, 2-1), Nordonia (3-1 2-1). Junior varsity — Wadsworth 58, Nordonia 50.