Wilmington jumped out to an early 10-point first quarter lead, but the upset-minded McClain Tigers kept it relatively close the final three quarters before the Hurricane posted a 43-27 victory in South Central Ohio League play on Tuesday night.
At the intermission, Wilmington held a 22-8 advantage, but came out of the lockerroom ice-cold while McClain chipped away at the deficit. After three periods, Wilmington’s lead was at single digits, 29-20.
Dylan Beaugard, who led the Hurricane with 14 points, converted an old-fashioned three-point play early in the fourth quarter stretching the lead back to double figures, 32-29.
Wilmington converted its free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
McClain coach Jesse Mitchell was pleased with his squad’s effort.
“Our team chemistry is getting better and we are learning how to play together,” Mitchell said. “We’re very young, starting a freshman (Dylan Mischall) and have great senior leadership from people like Jacob Starkey and Matt Barton. Right now we’ve got to keep playing hard and we have a tough schedule with four games in just one week.”
Starkey led the McClain attack with eight points, while Barton and Landree Gray scored six points each. After the opening period, McClain kept the margin close, with Wilmington outscoring the Tigers by only six points, 27-21.
McClain travels to Chillicothe on Friday and faces Jackson on Saturday while Wilmington plays its home opener Friday night at Fred Summers Court, hosting Miami Trace.
Wilmington — 16 6 7 14 — 43
McClain — 6 2 12 7 — 27
WHS: Gauche: 1-2, Smith: 5-2/4-12, Beaugard: 4-6/10-14, Mansfield: 3(1)-6/8-13, Wolary: 1-2
MHS: Starkey: 3-2/4-8, Barton: 3-6, Mischal: 2-4, Gray: 3-6, Beatty: 1-1/2-3
Bill Liermann is a contributing sports writer for the Wilmington News Journal and The Times-Gazette.