ZANESVILLE -- What a difference twenty-four hours makes.
Faced with its second "nail biter" of a game in as many nights, the Caldwell High boys' hoopsters found a way to win its Monday evening match-up with Ridgewood in the Route 40 Basketball Classic at West Muskingum High School.
Behind 26 points from junior Jonathon Wiechman, the Redskins posted a 44-40 triumph.
A happy Clint Crane stated the obvious following the win. "We finally closed one out," he began. "These kids have been so close so many times this season. Tonight we showed a lot of mental toughness in the final minutes."
After a first half which saw six ties and a dozen lead changes, it was Ridgewood which entered intermission with a 20-18 lead, having tallied the second period's final four points.
That momentum continued into the second half's early stages when the Generals opened the third by answering a Caldwell bucket with a 5-0 run to claim a 25-20 lead.
The small lead prompted Crane to switch his team's defense from man t o a 1-3-1 zone. The change seemed to bother Ridgewood, which made just two field goals in the frame, and the Redskins took full advantage and closed out the quarter on a 13-3 run to head into the final period with a five point lead of their own, at 33-28.
Keying the offense for the Redskins (3-11) was Wiechman, who tallied nine of his 26 points in the third.
The final period's early stages had a deja-vu feel to it as Ridgewood went on an 8-3 run to knot the game at 36-36. After the teams swapped buckets, Wiechman made the last of his 12 field goals to put his team up 40-38 with two minutes to play.
From that point on, Caldwell did the little things necessary to win a close game. They took care of the ball, made a couple of key charity tosses, played great team defense, got on the boards and got a clinching bucket from Justin Figel to seal the win.
"I think the 1-3-1 defense definitely slowed them down a bit," Crane commented, "but I was more pleased with our solid play in the final two minutes."
For Ridgewood coach Alan Keesee, the loss had a simple explanation. "We haven't been shooting well lately," he began, "and tonight was another example. We did some good things to limit their shooting, but we just couldn't contain Wiechman and keep him from penetrating."
Keesee's comment was founded in statistical evidence as the Generals managed to connect on just 15-of-50 action shots.
Caldwell finished at 17-of-36, but Wiechman's numbers were 12-of-20. In addition to his 26 points, the Redskins got seven each from Tanner Baker and Tanner Clark.
Though outrebounded by the Generals 33-22, Caldwell committed just 10 turnovers in the win. Ridgewood had no turnovers in the first half, but were whistled for 10 in the decisive second half.
A pair of Generals scored in double figures with Zak Keesee netting 15 and Ryan Lowe adding 10. Lowe and Christian Grove each hauled down nine rebounds.
NEWCOMERSTOWN -- A strong performance at the charity strip propelled the host Newcomerstown High Trojans past Zanesville Rosecrans, 40-37 in non-league action on Tuesday night.
The Trojans converted 16-of-23 from the foul line in the contest, including a 8-of-13 effort in the decisive fourth quarter to hold on for the victory.
Newcomerstown took a 30-26 lead into the fourth period and need the free throws to hold on for the victory.
Senior Jacob Rine led the Trojans with 11 points, with senior Hunter Snearey finishing with nine including a perfect 4-for-4 effort from the foul line. Junior Austin King chipped in with eight for NHS and sophomore Austin Zufelt added six markers.
Rosecrans (2-12) was led in scoring by Tyler Johnston with nine points, while Mark Richey finished with eight and David Cline added seven.
Newcomerstown captured the rebounding battle by a 37-26 count, with senior Jordan Wharff collecting eight, Tyler Swackhammer pulled down five to pace Rosecrans' effort.
With the victory, the Trojans improved to 6-8 overall on the season.
SARAHSVILLE -- Shenandoah's dynamic senior guard duo of Eli Hurst and Danny Neuhart did a little bit of everything on Saturday night to lead the Zeps past visiting Newcomerstown High, 58-52 in non-league action.
The pair combined for 35 points, with Hurst leading the way with 18 followed closely by Neuhart with 17. Hurst then turned in a double-double performance by pulling down 10 rebounds, added four steals and handed out a pair of assists.
Neuhart passed out three helpers and came up with two steals to finish off his busy night.
After the opening quarter, the two squads were deadlocked at 11-11, before the Zeps jumped in the lead at 25-19 with a 14-8 scoring edge in the second stanza.
In the second half, Shenandoah held on for the victory to even their season mark at 8-8.
Senior Brett Bond chipped in with seven points for the Zeps, while senior James Luyster finished with six and pulled down eight rebounds.
Newcomerstown was led in scoring by senior Hunter Snearey with a 17 point effort, with senior Chris Poe right behind with 16 and junior Austin King with seven markers.
Snearey hauled in nine rebounds for NHS, while Jordan Wharff added eight of the Trojans' total of 38 for the game.