WADSWORTH — The members of the Wadsworth boys basketball team must have had some place to be Friday night.
The Grizzlies took care of business early and never gave Copley a chance while cruising to an impressive 65-45 Suburban League victory.
Wadsworth (10-6, 6-4), which lost 70-68 in overtime to the Indians (5-13, 3-8) earlier this season, jumped to leads of 14-1, 27-5 and 33-17 on senior night.
“We came out with total intensity,” said senior Kyle Prunty, who finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds. “It was love for our seniors. We did what we had to do.”
Up 26 points with 3:13 left in the first half, the Grizzlies had held Copley to two field goals, three rebounds and zero assists at that point.
“That was the best stretch of basketball we’ve played this season,” Wadsworth coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. said. “We played well in all aspects. Our transition was great, our defensive intensity was great, we got on the boards and we got loose balls. We did all the things great teams do.”
Schmeltzer started his five seniors — Prunty, Jimmy Elchlinger, Anthony Palecek, Barry Fernholz and Patrick Long — but a new lineup didn’t stop the Grizzlies from executing to perfection.
They led by 13 with 2:36 to go in the opening period and by 22 with 5:09 to play in the second before reaching their high-water mark.
Unable to do anything against Wadsworth’s 1-2-2 zone — the Grizzlies packed it in at the start and then extended it well beyond the top of the key at times to keep Copley off-balance — the Indians finally got their first assist of the night with 3:03 left in the opening half.
Wadsworth, which outrebounded Copley 37-17 for the game, was up 35-12 at intermission, at which time Prunty had two less points and one more board (8) than the Indians’ entire team.
“We played very well together,” the 6-foot-6 center said. “We’re starting to see what we need to do: Play together and play hard all the time, not just in little pieces.”
Copley went from a passive, confused-looking team in the first half to all-out aggression in the second half, which it won by three points, but the Indians never got closer than 18 points.
Normal starter Joel Kipfer came off the bench to put up 13 points, eight rebounds and two assists for Wadsworth, while Palecek had 10 points and three assists and Austin White, also usually a starter, finished with eight points, four rebounds and four assists.
Long (5 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists) and Elchlinger (2, 4, 2) also played well, as did Nick Hewitt (6 points) off the bench.
“We got a good inside-outside offense going,” Prunty said. “That led to the first push we had.”
Guard Todd Williams had 17 points for the Indians, while power forward Brandon Chillious had 16 points and five boards. The other nine Copley players who saw action combined for 12 points, with the three remaining starters combining for three.
“What I see is that when our defensive intensity is fueling us, we are very, very good,” Schmeltzer said. “When we start to lose that defensive intensity, we don’t play as well. That’s a key for us.”
|Wadsworth hosts Green today in an SL makeup game. The junior varsity game starts at 3 p.m., with the varsity game to follow.
l Copley beat the Grizzlies 55-44 in the JV game. Dan Weinerman had 16 points for Wadsworth and Cameron Deemer added 13.
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @RickNoland.
Wadsworth 65, Copley 45
COPLEY 5 7 17 16 — 45
WADSWORTH 21 14 15 15 — 65
Copley — Conner Huth 0-0-0, Brandon Chillious 6-4-16, Justin Hovvorka 0-2-2, Todd Williams 6-3-17, Larry Spear 0-1-1, Will Thomas 1-0-2, Will Andrew 1-1-4, Hayden Neal 0-0-0, Austin Brenner 1-0-3, Larnell Nealy 0-0-0, Trey Neal 0-0-0. TOTALS: 15-11-45.
Wadsworth — Anthony Palecek 3-3-10, Jimmy Elchlinger 1-0-2, Kyle Prunty 8-4-20, Barry Fernholz 0-1-1, Patrick Long 2-0-5, Austin White 3-1-8, Joel Kipfer 6-0-13, Tyson Heideman 0-0-0, Nick Hewitt 3-0-6, Cliff Collyer 0-0-0. TOTALS: 26-9-65.
3-point goals — Williams 2, Andrew, Brenner, Kipfer, Palecek, Long, White. Rebounds — Copley 17 (Chillious 5), Wadsworth 37 (Prunty) 10. Assists — Copley 10 (Andrew 3), Wadsworth 17 (Long, White 4). Records — Copley (5-13, 3-8), Wadsworth (10-6, 6-4). Junior varsity — Copley 55, Wadsworth 44.