Third time proves to be no charm for Wilmington
Wilmington (60) Vs. West Middlesex (63)
Feb 19, 2016
By Andrew Koob
New Castle News

SLIPPERY ROCK — The table was set for the Wilmington High boys basketball team to finally knock off West Middlesex.

Twice the Greyhounds had their chance to take down the reigning District 10 Class AA championship this season, twice did the Greyhounds fall just a bit short.

Friday night's District 10 Class AA quarterfinal gave Wilmington one final opportunity, with an entire season at stake, to wash away the two previous losses and send the Big Reds packing for the summer.

Yet, just as they had twice before this season, the Greyhounds fell short once more, this time in a 63-60 loss at Slippery Rock University that ended Wilmington's season.

"I don’t think it’s anything we did particularly or anything that they did," Wilmington coach Mike Jeckavitch said. "You can tell a team has been in those situations before, they just made one more play than we did."

The Greyhounds (12-12) fell behind early, allowing West Middlesex to score 10 straight points to end the first quarter to take a six-point advantage.

Wilmington chipped away at that deficit, getting it down to two in the first half before Jimmy Powers made his move to open the second half.

Powers scored Wilmington's first 11 points of the third quarter, nine coming from beyond the arc, to give the Greyhounds their own six-point lead.

Spencer DeMedal, who scored his 1,000th point in Wilmington's win over Titusville, and Powers combined to score 83.3 percent of the Greyhounds offense, with DeMedal posting a game-high 28 points and Powers following with 22.

“We talked to them before the game and told them that big time players make big time plays and like big time games," Jeckavitch said. "Those two guys didn’t hide from that whatsoever. Everyone knows that the ball goes through their hands most of the time. They carried us on the offensive end, led a group of young guys that didn’t have playoff experience and led us to our first playoff win since 2009.”

Neither side took a noted advantage in the first half of the fourth quarter, but the Big Reds (17-7) finally created some distance thanks to seven straight points off of offensive rebounds and and-ones to give West Middlesex a five-point lead.

Wilmington brought the deficit down to one possession twice in the final minute. The first possession resulted in a turnover, the second being the three-quarter buzzer-beater that fell short to end the game.

"They’re a good team and I’ll give credit where it’s due," Jeckavitch said. "These guys battled all season and we were right there. It’s a shame we have to go home like this. I feel like on any given day we can beat any team. Again, it seems like West Middlesex … it’s just not our time.”

Josh Porterfield, West Middlesex's 6-foot-6, 265-pound forward, created havoc for Wilmington. The Greyhounds did their job by contesting his first attempts, but struggled to keep him off of the offensive glass.

“I thought we did a decent job on him, he just beat us on second chances," Jeckavitch said. "We contested his first layup and our guys were a little bit out of position to get a rebound and he would get the second putback. You make him take a tough, contested shot and it takes the wind out of your sails when you give up the offensive rebound and the putback.

Added Big Reds coach Chad Mild, “We tell (Porterfield) to be active on the offensive glass or when we run iso (isolation) plays for him. We want him to keep moving on offense and good things will happen.”

Porterfield ended up with a team-high 27 points, while Nicky Cannone added 20 and Ryan Dogan posted 11.

The reality of three losses to a single team stings the Greyhounds, but Jeckavitch is hopeful that the returning players will use it as fuel for what they hope is a deeper district playoff run.

“It’s a learning lesson and you can learn a lot from losses," Jeckavitch said. "Hopefully this will be extra motivation for this offseason and have this on the back of their mind, that to be the best you have to beat the best.

"Right now, West Middlesex is still the best, but I believe our gap is closed. I believe that this team wants it and the Wilmington 'Hounds will get it."

Nightly Roundup
Feb 19, 2016 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
Wilmington 9 14 17 20 0 60
West Middlesex 15 12 13 23 0 63
Box Scores
Spencer DeMedal 10 8-11 28
Jimmy Powers 7 4-4 22
Jacob Harvey 1 0-0 2
Matt Zimmer 0 0-0 0
Jared Berlin 2 1-2 6
Reese Bender 1 0-0 2
Colton Marett 0 0-0 0
Cameron Marett 0 0-0 0
Bryson Verrelli 0 0-0 0
Robert Pontius 0 0-0 0
Totals: 21 13-17 60

Nicky Cannone 5 8-11 20
Travis Roberts 0 0-0 0
Chase Staunch 1 0-0 2
Josh Porterfield 11 5-8 27
Jourdan Townsend 1 1-2 3
Ryan Dogan 3 4-7 11
Totals: 21 18-28 63

WILMINGTON 9 14 17 20 — 60
W. MIDDLESEX 15 12 13 23 — 63

3-point goals — Wilmington 5 (Powers 4, Berlin 1), West Middlesex 3 (Cannone 2, Dogan 1).
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