WADSWORTH — The Wadsworth boys basketball team went on a big run to start the second half Friday night, but Twinsburg recovered and made a bigger run to take a 59-50 victory in Suburban League National Conference play.
Forwards Ralph Campbell and Ken McElrath drove the Tigers (13-5, 8-4) in the fourth quarter and snapped a streak of four losses in five games for Twinsburg in the process.
Campbell scored three points in the final period, but he was incredibly active defensively, grabbing loose balls and eight of his game-high 14 rebounds to limit the Grizzlies (7-9, 5-5). McElrath scored nine points over the final eight minutes as the Tigers outscored Wadsworth 18-7.
“I think in the fourth quarter they made six of their first seven shots and (McElrath and Campbell) just took over,” Grizzlies coach Mike Moser said. “Those two had a phenomenal fourth quarters and finishes to that game.”
Campbell finished with a game-high 19 points, while McElrath added 14.
After a back-and-forth game in the first half in which neither team had more than a four-point lead, the second half was a game of runs.
The Tigers were down 37-27 midway through the third quarter after guard Brendan Merhar split a pair of foul shots and made a 3-pointer off a Beau Casey offensive rebound. Merhar then sank a basket on the next possession, capping a 13-2 run in which the senior scored eight of his 11 points.
“At halftime we focused on working our plays and what we do,” said Casey, who also had 11 points. “I think that’s what gave us an edge (early in the third quarter).”
Wadsworth’s ball movement was never better than in the third period, when it got everyone involved.
“We were moving the ball well, pushing it and then kicking out, looking (to pass) and knowing where all of our teammates were,” said guard T.J. Lockwood, who had a team-high 13 points.
Later in the third quarter a Lockwood 3-pointer put Wadsworth ahead 42-34, but Campbell scored four points in a 7-0 Tigers run to close the period, cutting the Grizzlies’ lead to two points.
McElrath scored on a goaltending call and made a foul shot for a three-point play to open the final stanza, giving Twinsburg a 44-43 lead.
“I think we definitely started locked in, but we weren’t knocking down shots at all,” Casey said. “We started playing to their game, which is a lot more fast-paced than ours, and once we get caught up in that, it kind of hurts us.”
Casey scored two minutes into the fourth quarter to pull his team within striking distance at 48-47, but the Tigers went on an 11-3 run led by McElrath and Campbell to close out the game.
“They started knocking down shots and got the momentum and it went downhill from there,” Lockwood said.
The game also changed at the free throw line. Wadsworth was 8-for-10 in going up 37-27 compared to 4-of-8 for Twinsburg. Over the last 12 minutes, the Grizzlies went 4-for-12 and the Tigers were 10-for-14.
“Obviously, that’s not a good stat to have,” Moser said. “We’ll continue to work on those things.”
Wadsworth won the junior varsity game 51-21. Sophomore forward Carston Marshall led the Grizzlies with 14 points.
Contact John Urchek at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twinsburg 59, Wadsworth 50
TWINSBURG 16 9 16 18 — 59
WADSWORTH 15 9 19 7 — 50
Twinsburg — Ken McElrath 5-4-14, Ralph Campbell 6-7-19, Anthony McCarthy 1-0-2, Mike Simpson 2-0-5, Ryan Felberg 3-0-8, Joey Plantner 1-2-4, Ethan Golnick 1-0-2, Jared Young 2-0-5, Dante Yarbrough 0-0-0. TOTALS: 21-13-59.
Wadsworth — T.J. Lockwood 3-6-13, Jack Simmons 2-0-4, Beau Casey 5-1-11, Brendan Merhar 4-1-11, Lance Steward 0-0-0, Carson Risher 2-1-7, Mitchell Evans 1-2-4, Jake McDermitt 0-0-0. TOTALS: 17-11-50.
3-point goals — Felberg 2, Simpson, Young, Risher 2, Merhar 2, Lockwood. Rebounds — Wadsworth 25 (Casey 11), Twinsburg 21 (Campbell 14). Assists — Wadsworth 8 (Lockwood 4), Twinsburg 5 (Felberg 2). Records — Wadsworth (7-9, 5-5), Twinsburg (13-5, 8-4). Junior varsity — Wadsworth 51, Twinsburg 21.