MUNCIE – The Yorktown boys basketball team tends to be calm at halftime. The Tigers have a senior-heavy roster loaded with multi-sport athletes, and coach Greg Miller said those varied competitive experiences mean his players don’t easily get rattled. Yorktown led Wapahani by three points at halftime Tuesday, and the tight margin didn’t seem to faze the Tigers.
Yorktown pulled away to a 43-23 win in a first-round Delaware County Tournament game played at Delta.
“We try to rely on those high-level varsity experiences that they’ve already had to help them be better basketball players too,” Miller said. “And mentally, sometimes if you can sit back and you can say ‘I’ve seen this before, I’ve been here, I’ve done this situation,’ then you can help process the game of basketball. And that’s what I hope we continue with this group, being an older group.”
The Tigers (6-4) limited the Raiders (6-5) to eight second-half points, four in each quarter. Yorktown had an offensive burst in the third quarter, scoring 20 points (two more than the Tigers scored in the entire first half).
“Our defense kind of got us the tempo we needed,” Miller said. “We took care of contesting shots and we got the rebound, didn’t give them too many extra offensive rebounds. And that got us into a tempo situation where we could get some easy baskets.”
Riley Miller paced the Tigers offensively with 16 points, and two of his teammates also cracked double figures. Riley Neal scored 12 points and Jacob Preston added 10.
Wapahani was the three-time defending champion of the county tournament, so Tuesday’s result guarantees the event will see a different champion this year. The Raiders have significantly different personnel this season after the top five scorers on the 2013-14 team graduated.
Hayden Castor led the Raiders with 10 points Tuesday, the only Wapahani player to score more than five. Coach Matt Luce said his team has been competitive in games that have turned into defeats, and Tuesday was no different as the first half was tight before Yorktown later expanded the margin.
“We were very patient offensively the first half,” Luce said. “I thought we missed a lot of good shots early, shots within our offense, to hold Yorktown to 18 points, they have a very good team with three quality players. We were happy where we were, even though we didn’t score it early.
“We came out in the third quarter and didn’t adjust to what Yorktown did, and then obviously got down and panicked. But our team is coming around.”
Yorktown advanced to play Daleville at 8 p.m. Friday in the tournament’s semifinals at Delta. Delta will play Cowan in the other semifinal earlier Friday. Delta defeated Wes-Del in other action Tuesday, while Cowan and Daleville each had byes.
Contact prep sports reporter Sam Wilson at (765) 213-5807. Follow him on Twitter @SamWilsonTSP.