Greenville pulls out double-overtime win over Wilm
Wilmington (60) Vs. Greenville (66)
By DAN IRWIN
Nico Zahnhiser has been averaging about three points per game for Greenville High this year.
Last night, the sophomore reserve got them all at once, draining a trey with just under a minute and a half to go in a second overtime period to put the Trojans on the road to a 66-60 win at Wilmington in a District 10, Region 2-AA game.
The win gave Greenville sole possession of first place at 5-1 (10-7 overall). Wilmington dropped to 4-2 and 8-10 overall.
The two teams went into the second overtime period knotted at 58, and it stayed that way until Zahnhiser swished his three-pointer from the corner with 1:26 to go, putting Greenville ahead to stay. The Trojans followed by going just 5 of 12 from the charity stripe, but it was more than enough to keep the Greyhounds, who managed just two Daryl Pace free throws, at bay.
“I’m very happy for Nico,” Greenville head coach Mark Batt said, “but I did not call for that shot, and I wasn’t sure why he was shooting it. But God bless him. It was a big one.”
Wilmington head coach Will Harris had thought his team was in luck when he first saw Zahnhiser launch the ball. He soon changed his mind.
“That’s his first three of year,” Harris said. “We got the stats on him, he’s averaging like one point a game. My assistant’s saying, ‘Good, that’s the shot we want, let him take it.’ But give the kid credit for knocking it down.”
The loss spoiled a 26-point night by Wilmington senior Jake DeMedal and a 23-point, 10-rebound outing by Daryl Pace. Pace, a 6-4 junior, has inherited most of the ’Hounds’ inside responsibility because of an injury to 6-5 junior Ryan Baldwin, who will miss the rest of the season.
“Daryl did a very nice job,” Harris said, “and my guards did pretty well creating off the dribble and getting him the ball. I guess we just didn't do it enough (Pace did not score after the midway point of the fourth period.)”
Similarly, Greenville’s Jordan Batt, the coach’s son, got off to a fast start, scoring 15 first-half points. He added, only three more after intermission, though, as Wilmington — which was down 25-22 at halftime — clawed its way back into the contest.
“I put Jake on Batt, who was dominating the first half, and Jake did a pretty good job on him for as big a kid as he is,” Harris said. “He’s a load.”
The Greyhounds, who fell behind 13-2 to open the game, trailed the whole way until DeMedal snared a defensive rebound and went coast to coast to knot the game at 37 with 15 seconds left in the third period. Wilmington rode the momentum to a 49-44 advantage with 2 1/2 minutes left in the game, only to see Greenville surge back in front, 53-51, with 38 seconds showing. Brandon Burk sank two free throws — his only points of the game — with 9.6 ticks remaining to send the game into OT.
The Greyhounds fell behind again in the first extra period, 57-53, but five DeMedal points sandwiched around a Cody Marshall free throw set the stage for a second overtime stanza and Zahnhiser’s unlikely heroics.
“We came out for a good start and although we lost it, I thought that was really important that we get them on their heels a little bit,” Batt said. “We had momentum pretty much the whole game. In the overtime, I was a bit concerned. It was a great resilient effort. I wished we’d have made some more free throw to put it away.”
Harris, too, praised his team's multiple comebacks.
“I was proud of the way we battled back down 13-2,” he said. “Then we were down towards the end of the fourth quarter we were down in the first overtime, and they battled back.
“It just wasn’t enough. This is an emotional loss, it really is, but we gotta forget about it. We’ve still got a good shot at the playoffs and we’ve got to come back on Tuesday and get a win.”