’Hounds’ soph steps up to dispatch Devils
Wilmington (59) Vs. Sharpsville (39)
By Dan Irwin
New Castle News

Put a curved object in front of Jordan Smith, and he was deadly.

For most of Wilmington High’s game against Sharpsville last night, that object was the rim, and Smith enjoyed a career-high 24-point effort as his teammates repeatedly fed him the ball beneath it.

But on one occasion when the 6-foot-1 sophomore was toeing the 3-point arc instead, he was every bit as accurate, hitting a clutch trey that stemmed a Blue Devils rally and ignited an uprising that got the Greyhounds a 59-39 District 10, Region 2-AA victory.

As a reserve, Smith has been averaging about 3 points per game for Wilmington (4-1, 7-9). But with two of the ’Hounds’ top scorers, Matt Bowen (14 ppg.) and Ryan Sager (10 ppg.) lost to injuries, “we knew that some of the younger kids were going to have to step up,” coach Mike Jeckavitch said. “We knew if we could be patient and get the ball inside that we could finish inside, and we did that tonight.”

Anthony Derrick, who had 16 points, and Josh Tekac, who had 11, also contributed some key points, but it was Smith — whose previous high-water mark was eight points — who stole the show.

“Jordan has been working really hard, he spent a lot of time in offseason,” Jeckavitch said. “We knew that he could do this. He’s not always the scorer we want him to be, but tonight, he got open looks and he made the most of them.

“He works his butt off, and he doesn’t back down to anybody. He played really well tonight and he’s the reason we won this game. It was a team effort, but without him, we could have struggled.”

Smith’s smile after his performance was almost as bright as the spotlight he shrugged off.

“I knew I had to step up,” said Smith, who also had a team-high seven rebounds, “but I just did what my coach asked me to do.”

The Blue Devils (2-3, 7-8) trailed 38-27 with just over two minutes to go in the third period when they ran off eight unanswered points to pull within three points of the ’Hounds. Wilmington responded by finding Smith again, but this time, he wasn’t in the paint.

Instead, he was on the wing, just a few steps in front of the first row of bleachers, and he drained a 3-pointer that not only pulled the plug on Sharpsville’s momentum and but also put the ’Hounds back in control.

Starting with Smith’s trey, Wilmington outscored the Blue Devils 21-4 the rest of the way, with Smith providing 11 of those markers.

“That had me going,” the sophomore said of his long-distance field goal.

Sharpsville coach Jim Smiley was a little more descriptive.

“That was a big basket,” the former Neshannock High mentor said, adding that his defense got what it was looking for, but Smith made the Blue Devils pay anyway.

“The traps are a gamble,” he said. “They threw the ball where we wanted them to throw it, we just didn’t get it. The longer you stay in something like that, something bad will happen.”

Dallas Klenke keyed Sharpsville with 16 points, followed by Tyler Luchey with 11 and Kevin Yarabencic with 10.

(Email: d_irwin@ncnewsonline.com)
Game Scoreboard
Wilmington 16 16 11 16 0 59
Sharpsville 17 8 10 4 0 39
Box Scores
Kevin Yarabencic 5 0-0 10
Tyler Luchey 4 3-3 11
Dallas Klenke 6 2-2 16
Nick Siguenza 0 0-0 0
Luke Vasconi 1 0-0 2
Jake Henwood 0 0-0 0
Jake Bulick 0 0-0 0
Sage Barringer 0 0-0 0
Jake Smith 0 0-0 0
Taylor Lenzi 0 0-0 0
Totals: 16 5-5 39

Anthony Derrick 6 2-2 16
Vince Pitzulo 1 0-0 2
Jesse Hilliard 1 0-0 2
Rocco Fagan 2 0-0 4
Ryan Crawford 0 0-0 0
Jordan Smith 10 3-4 24
Josh Tekac 5 0-1 11
Xavier Coulter 0 0-0 0
Totals: 25 5-7 59

SHARPSVILLE 17 8 10 4 — 39
WILMINGTON 16 16 11 16 — 59

3-point goals — Sharpsville 2 (Klenke 2), Wilmington 4 (Derrick 2, Smith 1, Tekac 1).
JV score: Wilmington 55, Sharpsville 50. High scorer: W — Jesse Hilliard 11, Cody Wohlgemuth 11.
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