Quakers post Senior Night Win
WC reels in Muskingum, 68-57
February 8, 2012
Seniors, from left, Nolan Darland, Antonio Bowman, Keegan Nowlin and Daniel Rogers led Wilmington to a win over Muskingum.
The night belonged to Wilmington College’s four seniors as the Quakers posted a 68-57 win over Muskingum in Ohio Athletic Conference action at Fred Raizk Arena Wednesday night.
Antonio Bowman (Columbus/Whetstone), Nolan Darland (New Richmond), Keegan Nowlin (Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington South) and Daniel Rogers (Xenia) made their final regular-season home appearance a memorable one. All four seniors scored in the first 3 minutes of play as Wilmington (10-5 OAC, 12-9 overall) took a 9-2 lead en route to notching a wire-to-wire victory.
“It was a really neat night. Our four seniors came out and just played great basketball. They shared it. They defended. They got us going and set the tone for a good Senior Night win. It was fun to see those guys have some early success,” Wilmington head coach K.C. Hunt said.
The Quakers knocked the Muskies against the ropes, but could not find the knockout punch. When Brandon Candella (West Chester/Lakota West) fed R.J. Leppert (Liberty Township/Lakota East) for a lay-in at 6:24, Wilmington led, 27-11.
Muskingum (5-10, 8-14) answered with a 13-5 spurt to close the half and reduce Wilmington’s lead to 32-24 at the break.
“Muskingum is a good basketball team. They are well coached and are very hard to play against, but we do need to be a better closer. We’ve had pretty big leads the last couple games, but didn’t finish them out. I’m still very proud of our team for getting a big win,” Hunt said.
The Quakers again took a 16-point lead when Klarke Ransome (Richwood/North Union) hit a 3-pointer with 15:20 to play.
Wilmington hit 10 of 15 shots (67 percent) in the final half, but 14 Quaker turnovers kept things cozy as Muskingum pulled within 57-51 at 4:35.
The Muskies challenged the Quakers to ice the win at the foul line, and Wilmington responded by hitting 9 of 10 from the stripe in the closing minutes.
“Our mental focus was a little lacking the final 15 minutes of the game,” Hunt said. “The biggest thing we did was guard all night long. When you guard, you are going to give yourself a chance to win games. I love that our team’s mindset right now is that we know if we defend and rebound, we have a great shot to win every game we play.”
Wilmington was a point shy of having five double-figure scorers for the second consecutive game. Ransome led the way with 13 points while Candella, Leppert and Ben Vonderhaar (Cincinnati/Colerain) scored 10 each. Malcolm Heard II (Wilmington) finished with nine points. Vonderhaar was a perfect 5 for 5 from the field and sent down a dunk on an offensive rebound that rocked Raizk Arena and its occupants.
“Ben played as good a game as he has played in a month,” Hunt said. “He was super active and was on the glass. He had a great tip-dunk that electrified our crowd and our team. That was a big play. We’re getting better. I challenged the guys last week to be a team that gets better every game. We’ve done that. They have bought into sharing the ball and making extra passes. That’s why we are seeing higher field-goal percentages and more points on the board.”
The Quakers’ win, combined with John Carroll’s loss to Baldwin-Wallace Wednesday night, creates a three-way second-place tie between Wilmington, John Carroll and Marietta in the OAC standings.
The Quakers will travel to University Heights to face John Carroll in a key showdown Saturday.
“It’s going to be a difficult game. They will be ready to go, coming off a couple losses. We will need a great performance to hopefully take a little stronger grasp on second place,” Hunt said.