Quakers win double OT thriller
Sophomore Johnson sets career-high with 24 points
January 12, 2013
The Wilmington bench erupts in the waning moments of Saturday's double overtime victory. (Wilmington photo/Randy Sarvis)
With Wilmington’s two top leading scorers forced to be spectators after fouling out, sophomore Dwight Johnson (Dayton, OH/Jefferson) strapped the WC men’s basketball team on his back and led the Fightin’ Quakers to the 108-102 double overtime victory Saturday in Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) action at Fred Raizk Arena in Hermann Court.
“It says a lot about our grit and toughness to power through and get the win,” said Wilmington head coach K.C. Hunt.
It was Wilmington’s first home victory in OAC action, and the first time it won the game when allowing more than 70 points in regulation.
Despite Johnson’s stellar play, the game wasn’t decided until Wilmington converted 6-of-6 from the foul line in the second overtime. Junior Klarke Ransome (Richwood, OH/North Union) hit four straight, then junior Taylor Wellman (Norwood, OH/Norwood) capped the scoring with two. After making going just 4-of-12 from the line in the first half, Wilmington went 18-of-21 from the charity stripe in the final 30 minutes.
Johnson scored half of his career-high 24 points in the two overtime sessions, including a stretch of six straight in the first overtime. The sophomore point guard added six assists, three rebounds and zero turnovers in 41 minutes of action.
“Dwight is growing as a player,” said Hunt. “I thought he was tremendous tonight. He made a couple of big shots. When you play 41 minutes with six assists and no turnovers that is a tremendous day for a point guard. I thought they really couldn’t guard him. We saw throughout the game his penetration and ability to break down the defense was key to us having success on the offensive end.”
After Mount Union took the lead with a four-point play with 1:42 remaining in the first overtime, Johnson hit back-to-back layups to give WC a three-point led. Mount Union hit a equalizing three-pointer with 26 seconds left, but another driving layup by Johnson gave Wilmington the lead with six seconds remaining. The game was sent into a second overtime session as the Purple Raiders took the ball the length of the court as time expired.
A jumper by Ben Vonderhaar (Cincinnati, OH/Colerain) to kick off the second overtime gave Wilmington a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. A steal by junior Jordan Berlin (Wilmington, OH/Wilmington) led to a three-point play by Johnson, and helped the Fightin’ Quakers continue its momentum – and they carried it to a win.
The extra sessions, with 11:14 left in the game, looked to be a longshot as Wilmington led by 13. But, the Purple Raiders continued to chip away. The Mount Union cause was aided when Heard picked up his fourth foul, then a technical foul for his fifth with WC leading by nine at 9:37.
Mount Union trailed by eight with 5:23 and five with 1:30 as Ransome drilled a three-pointer. But, a three-point play and driving layup with 17 seconds knotted sent the game into overtime. Johnson had a chance for the win, but his shot hit the back of the rim.
“As a young player, you have to go through some missed game winners before you can make that game winner,” said Hunt. “I have a ton of confidence in our guards in general, not just Dwight, to make plays when the game is on the line – and I thought we did that today. “
Before fouling out the in the first overtime period, senior Brandon Candella (West Chester, OH/Lakota West) added 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
With Heard forced to watch the final 19-plus minutes, Vonderhaar and senior Miles Bankston (Cincinnati, OH/Walnut Hills) gave Wilmington its post presence. Bankston scored a career-high 14 points and four rebounds, while Vonderhaar recorded 12 points with five rebounds.
“I thought Miles was tremendous tonight,” said Hunt. “When Malcolm goes out with his five fouls, I thought Miles was a real key, both he and Ben, rebounding the basketball and scoring around the bucket. It was real nice to see them step up.”
Junior Malcolm Heard II (Wilmington, OH/Wilmington) added 10 points for the Green and White.
Wilmington (7-8 overall, 4-4 OAC) returns to home 7:30 p.m. Wednesday against Ohio Northern as they Quakers look to get back to .500 for the first time since December 6.
“The next game is a huge game, you have to win on your home floor,” said Hunt. “We stressed that all week, leading to this game, about protecting the W in the middle of the floor. I thought we took a lot of pride in that tonight. I would be real nice to play in front of our students for the first time this season.”