Wurm’s numbers a winner
OLD FORT – Twenty-eight and 11. Twelve and nine. Eleven and seven.
No those weren’t Tuesday’s winning Mega Millions numbers, but they were winning combinations for Buckeye Central. Those were point and rebounding totals for Austin Wurm, Cade Kaple and Seth Ollis respectively, as the trio led the Bucks to a 68-51 win over Old Fort in what was a battle of unbeatens.
The mega ball in this case was held by Wurm, whose 28 points and 11 rebounds were both game-highs. He scored 21 of his points in the second half as the Bucks (5-0) stretched a two-point advantage at the break to the 17-point spread at game’s end.
“I just got out and got going, started making some shots and went from there,” Wurm said when asked about his second half surge.
“We started off slow in the first half, but then our transition offense got going in the second half. And there we went,” he added. “We did pretty well on Hunter Perry on defense and stopping him.”
When a player goes for 19 points, it usually doesn’t fit to say he was held to that total. But when a player comes in averaging 39.5 a game, like Old Fort’s Perry did, only allowing 19 is virtually shutting him down.
Scott Heydinger led the defensive effort on Perry, shadowing him most of the night. Perry scored 10 in the first quarter as his Stockaders held a 14-13 lead, but he couldn’t match that total over the next three periods.
“We had Scott Heydinger staying with him no matter what,” Wurm said. “Then we always had a foot in the paint so there’s always help defense. We would sometimes switch it up and double him. We were always there to help and rotate. Our defense was pretty good today.”
Buckeye Central coach Phil Loy said despite the final margin, the game was a battle mostly because of what it took keep Perry in check.
“It was a dogfight; it was tough. Hunter Perry makes it tough, because you spend a lot of energy and attention on him and he’s good in many ways,” Loy said. “He can hurt you off the dribble, he can hurt you with the deep 3. But, he’s such a good passer, if you spend too much attention on him, then he’s giving passes for layups.”
However, it was Loy’s Bucks getting many layups, much to the chagrin of Old Fort coach Eric Hoover.
“We kept giving up layup after layup in the second half. Getting beat off dribble penetration and nobody’s there to help; nobody’s there to step up to help,” Hoover said. “We know that’s their strength, attacking the basket. That’s what they do. They get to the free throw line a lot because of it. They’re always attacking. So you got to get there, you got to get help and you got to get secondary help, and we didn’t. So we gave up layups all night.”
After shooting 32 percent in the first half, Buckeye Central shot at a blistering 69.5 percent clip in the second with Wurm leading the way.
“We did get a lot of easy shots, in transition or against the press. I thought we got some better rotation with the ball. But we just made shots,” Loy said. “Austin did a great job of making shots. I thought we rebounded better and he got a lot of rebounds as well. He played a great game.”
The rebounding though was a team effort. The Bucks held a 44-26 advantage on the boards for the game. Along with Kaple and Ollis helping Wurm clean the glass, Sam Robertson also pulled down seven rebounds.
“We feel like we do have some size and we can bring some guys in and out,” Loy said. “If Seth is in there, he does a nice job. We can interchange him with Sam Robertson. I think both of them with their length and their strength, they can do a good job.”
Wurm credited the rebounding on the defensive end for getting the offense started.
“Sam and Seth got a lot of rebounds, hit the outlets and then we were gone,” he said. “Our height really helps.”
Buckeye Central broke open the game with a 14-4 run to open the second half. Old Fort kept chipping away. Elijah Cleveland came off the bench to hit four 3-pointers in the second half, but usually there was a Buckeye Central answer after each one.
The Stockaders got within five at 42-37, but Ollis hit two layups from the post.
Cleveland hit a 3 to open the fourth quarter to get back within five at 48-43, but Wurm scored the game’s next six points.
“We finally got some offense going,” Hoover said. “Hootie (Cleveland) came in and made some shots for us, but we just couldn’t get the stops at the other end to get it close enough to really put some pressure on them. Can’t make runs when you’re giving up layups.”
Old Fort suffered its first loss, falling to 4-1. Hoover though said that blemish may have been on the record before the ball was tipped.
“I didn’t really like our attitude coming into it,” he said. “I knew they’re a good team. I knew they were going to be big and physical and going to be one of the better teams were going to play. I’m not sure we were all convinced that we’re good enough to beat them. Which is a terrible attitude to have. We just didn’t do enough good things right. You got to be out there playing with confidence all the time. And we weren’t tonight.”