By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
In a road contest at Grand Valley, the Windham boys basketball team wanted to keep the pace quick. The Bombers succeeded and downed the Mustangs, 74-56, in Northeastern Athletic Conference action Friday night.
“That’s the way we try and play,” Windham coach Marty Hill said. “Our defensive effort was outstanding. Playing at that pace, we were a little sloppy on offense, but we played hard defensively.”
Windham (7-5, 4-2) used a 13-0 run that spanned nearly four minutes in the middle of the first period to take a 17-4 advantage with 2:25 left.
Grand Valley (3-8, 2-6) turned the ball over 10 times in the first quarter.
“Windham is athletic and they’re well-coached,” GV coach Matt Brumit said. “They run a 2-1-2 and we went over that. Then they switched to man.
“It all comes down to taking care of the basketball.”
The Bombers led, 20-9, through eight minutes and used a 9-0 spurt in the second period to go up 31-12 with 2:25 to play in the half.
“I think we got careless at times,” Brumit said. “We panicked under pressure. Instead of a nice bounce pass, we tried to lob it over the defender and they’d intercept it. We’d lob it over, they’d step into the passing lane intercept it and we’d go the other way.”
The Mustangs were 7 of 32 (21.9 percent) from the field in the first half and only slightly better for the game at 29.2 percent (19 of 65).
“That’s one of the benefits of keeping the pressure on,” Hill said. “It tires their legs out and the legs are what you use to shoot. I’d like to credit at least some of that to the defense.”
“(19 of 65) is not good,” Brumit said. “I guess there’s proof in the pudding there. The kids worked hard. I know in the second quarter, two of them came over and said they were tired. That never happens to us.”
A 10-2 run that lasted just more than two minutes had Windham up, 46-25, with 5:17 to play in the third quarter.
Four Bombers scored in double figures with Parker Rickey leading the way with 19 points. Stephen Kacenski had 15 and Dillon Blewitt and Jonah Konzen (10 rebounds) each netted 10.
“I thought for us, Jonah Konzen had a great night,” Hill said. “He had a great night on the boards and he was there when we needed him inside. Stephen Kacenski also had a good game. Dillon Blewitt shot well.
“Our effort was outstanding. If we play with that effort, a lot of good things can happen.”
Jake Vormelker paced the Mustangs with 22 points and 12 rebounds while Gabe Kovats added 17 points and 12 boards.
“Vormelker is a good player, a very good player,” Hill said. “He’s scored a lot of points against us in both games against them.”
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.