Wadsworth's Carson Risher (4) drives to the basket through the defense of Stow's Jacob Graham (12) and Coryon Rice (5) in the first half of Friday's game at Stow High School. (NICK CAMMETT/GAZETTE)
STOW — The tallest player for the Wadsworth basketball team Friday was 6-foot-5 Reid Black, while Stow trotted out 6-9 Evan Bainbridge and 6-8 Ohio recruit Mason McMurray.
Together they were 161 inches of trouble in a 74-59 Suburban League National Conference win that was close only because of a fantastic second half by the Grizzlies.
Bainbridge (career-high 30 points) and McMurray (19) each made five 3-pointers as Stow removed all doubt in a 47-16 first half.
“We know what they have in Mason and Evan,” Wadsworth coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. said. “I don’t know what percentage they shot in the first half (.615, 16-for-26), but it was stupid good. The problem is it may look like we’re not contesting shots, but we’re giving up four or five inches on that perimeter. When they elevate and shoot it, I’m not really sure contesting their shot really affects them.
“They’re the real deal. To have two of them on the same team that can extend you defensively — they can both go to the rim, they’re both athletic, they can both shoot the three — you have two colleges that are really going to be happy to have those two.”
The two combined for 30 of the 47 first-half points for Stow (13-1, 7-1).
“It’s tough,” said guard Mitchell Blackburn, who scored a career-high 13 points for Wadsworth. “When they have 6-6 kids shooting the three, you just have to put a hand up and face-guard them.
“They’re definitely going to play Division I level.”
The Grizzlies (6-7, 4-4) shot 6-for-25 in the first half and never really got into a flow with Tony Hewitt (14 points) sitting out the first half because of a technical received on Tuesday.
With Hewitt in, Wadsworth shot 14-for-27 and closed the gap to 12.
“We came in the locker room and had a little heart to heart,” Schmeltzer said. “We said let’s go out and win the second half. I’ll be honest with you. I’m proud of our kids because that thing could have turned into a 100-25 the way it went in the first half.
“One of the big differences in the second half was that we took it one possession at a time. We probably took more time in that second half and scored 43 points. That’s not 43 against the second group. That’s 43 against their starting group. We’ll take some lessons from that because there’s a good possibility we’ll see them again.”
Besides the first half, the biggest letdown in Wadsworth’s arsenal was the glass, as Stow held a 37-20 edge behind McMurray (14 rebounds) and Bainbridge (10).
“We probably missed about three or four easy shots that we could have used early,” Schmeltzer said. “It was definitely tough.”
The Wadsworth junior varsity won 64-48 behind Lance Steward’s 19 points. He was 5-for-5 from the field, including 4-for-4 from behind the arc. T.J. Lockwood added 13 points.
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stow 74, Wadsworth 59
WADSWORTH 7 18 23 20 — 59
STOW 24 23 13 14 — 74
Wadsworth — Carson Risher 0-0-0, Jack Simmons 5-1-11, Reid Black 2-4-8, Jake Justice 4-1-11, Christian Szalay 0-0-0, Ryan Storad 1-0-2, Beau Casey 0-0-0, Mitchell Blackburn 3-5-13, Tony Hewitt 5-0-14. TOTALS: 20-11-59.
Stow — Jarod Zavodnik 0-0-0, Mason McMurray 5-4-19, Evan Bainbridge 10-5-30, Ethan Fretag 1-1-3, Coryon Rice 5-1-11, Bryce Harvey 2-2-7, Brian Cartwright 0-0-0, Michael Young 0-0-0, Jack Wilson 0-0-0, Bradley Stutz 1-2-4. TOTALS: 24-15-74.
3-point goals — Hewit 4, Szalay 2, Justice 2, Bainbridge 5, McMurray 5, Harvey. Rebounds — Wadsworth 20 (Black 8), Stow 37 (McMurray 14). Assists — Wadsworth 14 (Szalay 6), Stow 18 (McMurray 6). Records — Wadsworth (6-7, 4-4), Stow (13-1, 7-1). Junior varsity — Wadsworth 64, Stow 48.