BY MATT NYE
They say football is a game of inches. However, in Tuesday night’s Northern Buckeye Conference basketball mathcup between Woodmore and Fostoria High School, just one inch was the difference in the visiting Wildcats’ 53-52 win.
Woodmore’s Jake Matwiejczyk drained a 3-pointer with 40.1 seconds left in the contest that gave Woodmore a one-point lead. FHS then missed a jumper, but got another chance 10 seconds later as Kobey Bemis stole the ball for the Redmen.
With the help of one more Wildcat turnovers, Fostoria managed to get two shots away in the last 19.2 seconds — the last being a 3-point try by Kagen Brown with 1.7 seconds left that bounced off the back of the rim.
Woodmore improved to 2-11 overall and 2-4 in the NBC. Matwiejczyk led the Wildcats with 17 points, while Erich Greulich added nine points and Drew Lewandowski had eight. Woodmore shot just 29 percent (11 of 37) from the floor, but torched the Redmen from the 3-point line, going 7 of 11.
Kaleb Bemis led the Redmen with 16 points, four assists and two steals, while Hunter Abell tallied nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds as FHS dropped to 2-8 overall and 0-5 in the NBC.
“This is just a heart-wrenching defeat,” FHS coach Rick Renz said. “Even including our two wins, I thought we did things better tonight. We executed well. Defensively, we had a few lapses, but for the most part the kids did what they were supposed to do. When the ball left Kagen’s hand, I saw the trajectory and it looked good from where I was. We had two good opportunities to win and they just didn’t fall. You have to tip your hat to Woodmore because they came out and played hard. That is what is so dangerous about playing a 3-point shooting team — they came out not hitting right away, but in the second half really caught fire and it turned the game around for them.”
The Redmen led 28-20 at halftime behind Abell’s nine points and their tough physical defense.
The Wildcats responded in a big way to begin the second half as they made four 3-pointers in the third quarter, including two in the first 1:30 of the quarter.
The Redmen went on a 9-0 run in the middle of the third quarter that increased their lead to 37-28. Woodmore responded right back, finishing the quarter on a 9-0 run behind a pair of treys from Matwiejczyk and Lewandowski that tied the game up at 37 heading into the fourth quarter.
Kaleb Bemis tried to keep the Redmen ahead with eight fourth-quarter points, but in the end they weren’t enough.
“All season we’ve struggled to put the ball in the hoop and we did in the first half tonight,” Woodmore coach Brad Sander said. “In the second half, we got a huge three from Drew Lewandowski and I think that seemed to get everybody else going and get the lid off of the hoop for us. We have been struggling shooting for the last eight or nine games, so I think we saw a couple of those go in and Jake is one of our best shooters; he started to catch fire in the end. It was just an exciting high school game that went back-and-forth down the stretch.”
FHS outrebounded the Wildcats 32-23 and made 19 of 24 at the free throw line, but its 19 turnovers made it tough to hold on for the win.
“If we can somehow put this behind us and not make this a heartbreaking loss, we still have time to turn this around,” Renz said. “We are making strides to be where we want to be by the end of the season, but we need to try to consisttently play four quarters instead of just two or three.”
Fostoria won the junior varsity game 41-40. Jayden Stanton scored 13 points for the Redmen, while Connor Bringman led Woodmore with 14.
Matwiejczyk 5-4–17, Avers 2-2–7, Thorbahn 1-0–2, Speaker 0-0–0, Fisher 0-0–0, Lewandowski 2-2–8, Gephart 3-0–6, Mullin 2-0–4, Greulich 3-2–9. TOTALS: 11-37 10-15 — 53.
Stanton 0-2–2, Kaleb Bemis 5-5–16, Kobey Bemis 0-0–0, Brown 1-3–5, Medina 0-0–0, Matz 0-0–0, Mauricio 0-4–4, Renz 0-1–1, Martin 3-2–8, Abell 4-1–9, Stennett 3-1–7. TOTALS: 15-41 1-4 — 52.
Woodmore 7 13 17 16 — 53
Fostoria 10 18 9 15 — 52
3-Point GOALS: Woodmore 7-11 (Matwiejczyk 3, Lewandowski 2, Greulich, Avers); Fostoria 1-4 (Kaleb Bemis).
REBOUNDS: Woodmore 23; Fostoria 32 (Abell 11).
TURNOVERS: Woodmore 13; Fostoria 19.
JUNIOR VARSITY: Fostoria, 41-40.#
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