WADSWORTH — Losers of three of its last four games, the Wadsworth boys basketball team went looking for some answers.
The Grizzlies found what they were looking for during a pair of tough practices, focusing on defense and lineup changes that led to a 58-48 Suburban League National Conference victory Friday against Hudson.
“It’s great to get that win. We’ve been working really hard in practice, with these past two practices being the hardest we’ve had all year,” said Grizzlies guard T.J. Lockwood, who led the way with 15 points. “That really prepared us for this game, and we just wanted to give it all we had.”
Wadsworth guard Carson Risher, who debuted Tuesday after a football injury, made his way into the starting lineup and provided a spark with 11 points for the Grizzlies (4-5, 2-4), who also started forward Mitch Evans against the suddenly reeling Explorers (7-4, 3-4).
“We were just trying to shake things up a little bit,” Wadsworth coach Mike Moser said. “We thought we needed some energy, because we felt like there had been some gaps in energy. We played with great energy tonight.”
Things didn’t start perfectly for the Grizzlies, as they tried to find a rhythm. Wadsworth committed eight first-quarter turnovers but just three in the second half. Conversely, Wadsworth forced 13 turnovers over the final three quarters.
“Obviously, Tuesday our defense wasn’t that great, and our coaches had us going (hard) in practice this week, going as hard as we could on defense and really emphasizing communicating,” Risher said. “I thought it really showed tonight, and we played our butts off on the defensive end.”
After a 5-2 run by point guard Aaron Martin (game-high 16 points) gave the Explorers a 30-28 advantage three minutes into the second half, the Grizzlies quickly turned the tide.
Wadsworth forward Jack Simmons started a 9-0 run with a putback and quick score off an inbounds pass from wing Jacob Jariga, giving his team a 32-30 lead midway through the third quarter.
Simmons, who entered the night as the Grizzlies’ leading scorer at 10.6, then capped the run with a steal and basket. Simmons scored six points, but helped his team in a variety of ways, including seven rebounds and a team-high four assists. His last basket put Wadsworth ahead 37-30.
Hudson went on a 7-0 run late in the third quarter and early in the final period to pull within a point, but the Grizzlies did not surrender the lead.
Risher and guard Brendan Merhar (10 points) hit back-to-back 3-pointers and center Beau Casey (6 points, 9 rebounds) drove to the basket to put Wadsworth ahead 46-37.
The Grizzlies went 9-for-13 from the foul line over the final five minutes to secure the victory.
Sophomore Carston Marshall led Wadsworth with 10 points, but the Grizzlies lost 43-38 in the junior varsity game.
Contact John Urchek at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wadsworth 58, Hudson 48
HUDSON 10 15 10 13 – 48
WADSWORTH 11 15 12 20 – 58
Hudson — William Wallace 3-1-8, Peyton Koscho 0-0-0, Jack Burdett 4-1-9, Damani Ganaway 3-3-11, Aaron Martin 6-3-16, Anthony Chokenea 0-0-0, Brad McCormick 0-2-2, Brandon Lal 0-0-0, David Gentry 1-0-2. TOTALS: 17-10-48.
Wadsworth — Jacob Jariga 1-0-2, Mitch Evans 2-0-4, Beau Casey 3-0-6, Carson Risher 4-2-11, Brendan Merhar 3-1-10, Lance Steward 1-2-4, Stanley Bingham 0-0-0, Jack Simmons 3-0-6, T.J. Lockwood 3-6-15, Jake McDermitt 0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-11-58.
3-point goals — Ganaway 2, Martin, Wallace, Lockwood 3, Merhar 3, Risher. Rebounds — Wadsworth 26 (Casey 9), Hudson 25 (Burdett 8). Assists — Wadsworth 14 (Simmons 4), Hudson 10 (Wallace 4). Records — Wadsworth (4-5, 2-4), Hudson (7-4, 3-4). Junior varsity — Hudson 43, Wadsworth 38.