Senior Day Rout
February 9, 2013
Seniors Brandon Candella and Ethan FIte (44) were two of five seniors to play their final regular season home game. (Wilmington photo/John Swartzel)
Riding the wave of senior day emotion, the Wilmington College men’s basketball team raced out to a huge lead and recorded the 84-66 victory over John Carroll Saturday in Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) action at Fred Raizk Arena in Hermann Court.
Wilmington (12-11 overall, 9-7 OAC) took another step toward securing a bye into the quarterfinals of the OAC tournament. The Fightin’ Quakers are tied with Mount Union at 9-7, while Wednesday’s opponent Ohio Northern, along with John Carroll, trail by two games. Two of the four teams will earn a bye in the tournament.
The game marked the final regular season home game for Brandon Candella (West Chester, OH/Lakota West), Miles Bankston (Cincinnati, OH/Walnut Hills), Taylor Kin (Sandusky, OH/Riverdale), Ethan Fite (Hamersville, OH/Western Brown) and Tim Pfeiffer (Clinton, OH/Akron Manchester).
Four of the five seniors found their way into the scoring column Saturday. However, the impact of the quintet goes well beyond the scoreboard.
“They were freshmen when we went to the NCAA tournament and won the OAC,” said head coach K.C. Hunt. “They all contributed to that. I think the character of these young men is what stands out to me. They all will graduate on time, and they are wonderful guys to be around and coach.”
Wilmington scored 23 of the first 27 points to open up the big lead, and with the exception of one JCU run, the Fightin’ Quakers maintained a comfortable lead. WC shot 40 percent from the field and forced 24 Blue Streaks turnovers.
“I thought we had a little bit of a lull there, but it was nice to see the seniors come out here and set the tone,” said head coach K.C. Hunt. “I thought their energy level and emotional presence was good for the whole team. For the most part, we competed for a complete game.”
John Carroll had an 18-4 run midway through the first half to trim its deficit to five, but the Blue Streaks couldn’t get any closer.
After a timeout settled the Quakers, they scored eight of the last 10 points to reclaim its double-figure lead at the break. The lead never got below the halftime bulge of 11 points, and the home team cruised home to the victory.
Junior Malcolm Heard II (Wilmington, OH/Wilmington) led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. It is the fifth time in the last eight games that Heard scored at least 20 points.
“Malcolm is really playing at a high level, and of course when he is able to make jump shots it extends his whole game,” said Hunt. “The thing I appreciate about Malcolm’s game of late is that he is rebounding the heck out of the basketball and defending the basket as well as passing lanes. It’s been a terrific couple of games for him.”
Candella added 16 points, while sophomore Dwight Johnson (Dayton, OH/Jefferson) recorded 11 points, five rebounds and four assists.