The Wynford Royals went to overtime in both of their tournament games this week.
Against the No. 2 seeded New London Wildcats, they came up a little short.
Dane Held scored 24 points and the Wildcats hit 11 free throws in overtime, to defeat the Royals, 53-46, in the Division III lower bracket championship at Lexington High School.
“The difference in the overtime against Seneca East is that we scored right away,” Wynford coach Tim Ehresman said. “Then we got a stop and hit a 3. Tonight, we couldn’t do that.”
It was tenuous that the Royals made it to the extra period.
New London (19-4) led by five, at 42-37, on a three-point play by Held with 2:59 remaining.
But Michael Powers had a basket and then hit a 3 with 54 seconds left to tie it at 42-42. Held then missed a chance to win it in regulation.
“We got up (five) and we kept saying, ‘One more basket,’ but we just couldn’t get one more,” New London coach Tom Howell said. “Give Wynford credit for that.”
But once the game got to overtime, the Wildcats knew what to do. Ironically, they only had one shot attempt in the OT. All 11 of their points came from the foul line, on 14 tries.
Wynford (10-14) had stunned New London by going out to a 25-13 halftime lead. Powers scored 10 of his team-high 19 points in the first two quarters, including a 3 at the buzzer for intermission.
The Wildcats regrouped at halftime and looked like a different team in the second half. New London outscored the Royals, 20-6, in the third period to erase the 12-point deficit and led, 33-31, by quarter’s end.
“We didn’t throw it in the lane,” Ehresman said. “And when we did get it in there, we couldn’t finish. We played above ourselves offensively in the first half. In the third quarter, we got a lot of the same looks, we just couldn’t stick them.”
“In the second half, we played defense like we can and caused some turnovers,” Howell said. “We rebounded better too. That was the key to the game. We didn’t do it in the first half for some reason.”
Wynford had a 14-9 edge on the glass in the first half, but the Wildcats finished with a 27-25 advantage. Josh Dillard had nine boards to lead the Wildcats.
Todd Carter had nine points and seven rebounds for Wynford to second Powers’ 19 points. Mason Davis and Jake Glowaski finished with eight points apiece.
Ryan Fortner, Powers, Josh Scheffler, Tyler Baumberger and Carter played their last game in a Wynford uniform.
“If you have to go out, this is a great group of guys to go out with,” Ehresman said.
Cory Smith had eight points in support of Held’s 24 for New London.
“They took us out of everything we want to do in the first half,” Howell said. “But we got it going in the second half. This time of year, it’s win or go home.”
New London plays Huron Thursday at the Willard district.
In the upper bracket championship, the No.1 seeded Ontario Warriors used a 19-2 first quarter to defeat the Bucyrus Redmen, 53-25.
“They are a very well-coached team and very athletic,” Bucyrus coach Nate Hill said of the Warriors. “They are great defensively. We had to play the game of our lives and we come out and turn it over 13 times in the first half.”
That was the modus operandi for Ontario (20-4), according to assistant coach Tim Henige, who was filling in for head coach Joe Balogh, who left to scout.
“Our thing is you can always play defense, even when you’re not shooting the ball well,” Henige said. “We were just going to impose our will on them.”
With the Warriors’ length and quickness, that is exactly what happened. Bucyrus (5-18) had 10 turnovers in the first quarter, which helped fuel the Ontario scoring machine.
The Warriors hit eight of 16 shots — including three 3s — to go out to the 17-point bulge by period’s end.
“When you score two points in the first quarter, that’s not very good,” Hill said. “The game was over early.”
Michael Purcell scored 16 of Bucyrus’s 25 points in his last game for the Redmen.
Cameron Mack paced the Warriors with 18 points and six boards. Wyatt Clemens had 15, with three 3s, and Brandon Wagner added 10.
“We wanted to get up into them defensively,” Henige said. “They run their stuff so well and Purcell is a great player. We couldn’t let them have open looks. They’re a dangerous team.”