WADSWORTH — It took some soul searching, but Wadsworth’s boys basketball team believes it might have found its mojo from last season.
The Grizzlies dominated Barberton from start to finish in a 69-52 non-league win Tuesday night, hitting eight 3-pointers, shooting 46 percent from the floor and dominating the glass 46-22.
“We’ve had a lot of locker room discussions about what’s the difference from last year,” Wadsworth coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. said. “Our motto last year was, ‘Chase the Lion,’ and we brought that back out tonight. We were not going to be the hunted. We were going to do the hunting.”
The Grizzlies (4-5, 3-3) showed that mentality at the start of quarters. They started the game with a 15-5 run and scored the first seven points in the third and fourth quarters.
“This is a rivalry game for us, and we were ready to play,” senior guard Jake Justice said. “We had a really hard practice and wanted our focus up.”
Justice was locked in early, hitting all three of his 3-point attempts in the first half on the way to 14 points for the night.
“It felt good,” he said. “My teammates put me in good position and I knocked down a couple to start the game and that got me going.”
Wadsworth also got a strong effort from senior Tony Hewitt, who finished with 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
“Tony, when he turns it to that level, is usually the most athletic kid on the floor,” Schmeltzer said. “He played hard and he played solid.”
Christian Szalay had a game-high seven assists as nine Grizzlies broke into the scoring column. The bench provided 20 points for Wadsworth, all but two of that coming in the first three quarters.
Barberton (5-6, 2-3) got 15 points, three rebounds and three assists from Zane Ries and 12 points from Jordan Greynolds.
“That’s the worst we’ve played all year,” Barberton coach Jack Greynolds Jr. said. “We couldn’t buy a basket. We just had an off night.
“But Wadsworth’s really good. I know they went through a stretch, but I think they’re going to straighten that out and be a real tough out from here.”
The Wadsworth junior varsity remained undefeated with a 56-44 win. T.J. Lockwood led with 14 points, while Jacob McDermitt added eight.
Contact Chris Freeman at email@example.com.
Wadsworth 69, Barberton 52
BARBERTON 9 13 11 19 — 52
WADSWORTH 18 12 20 19 — 69
Barberton — Zane Ries 5-4-15, Garrett Turnbaugh 2-0-4, Maxwell Littlejohn 0-0-0, Jordan Soyars 4-3-11, Jordan Greynolds 6-0-12, Juan Franklin 1-2-4, Jaret Barclay 2-2-6, Macolm Boyd 0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-11-52.
Wadsworth — Tony Hewitt 5-4-15, Jack Simmons 3-1-7, Reid Black 3-0-7, Jake Justice 5-1-14, Christian Szalay 2-1-6, Carson Risher 2-0-5, Beau Casey 2-0-4, Ryan Storad 2-4-9, Mitchell Blackburn 0-0-0, Brendan Merhar 0-0-0, T.J. Lockwood 0-0-0, Jacob McDermitt 1-0-2, Trevor Smith 0-0-0, Stanley Bingham 0-0-0. TOTALS: 25-11-69.
3-point goals — Ries, Justice 3, Szalay, Hewitt, Black, Risher, Storad. Rebounds — Barberton 22 (Soyars 4), Wadsworth 46 (Hewitt 14). Assists — Barberton 9 (Ries 3), Wadsworth 17 (Szalay 7). Records — Barberton (5-6), Wadsworth (4-5). Junior varsity — Wadsworth 56, Barberton 44.