With star Kendal Young hot from the start, the Williamsburg boys basketball team wasted no time taking control last Friday night against Georgetown.
Despite that hot start, however, the Wildcats could never fully break away from the host G-Men and it came back to hurt them as the G-Men scored the first 10 points of the final quarter to take the lead, and control, as they rolled to a 61-53 come-from-behind Southern Buckeye Conference National Division victory.
“We played well for three quarters,” Williamsburg coach Dan McKibben said.
He added, of the defining fourth quarter, “We made a few mistakes, had a couple of turnovers. We had a couple travel calls that wiped out baskets. That hurt. When your shots aren’t falling real well…you’ve got to give Georgetown credit. Their defense turned it up a notch, a little bit, in the fourth quarter.”
With Williamsburg holding on a to a four point halftime lead, 31-27, the G-Men came out of the locker room ready to take over.
The Wildcats were able to fend the G-Men off for much for the third quarter because even as the G-Men made shots, the Wildcats answered.
When Young hit a fade away jumper from the elbow, the Wildcats had increased their lead to 35-29 about a minute and a half in to the second half.
But a Gage Bradley 3-pointer and Jacob Miller long jumper quickly got the G-Men back within one, 35-34.
And the G-Men continued to push for the lead.
Just minutes after Miller had gotten them within one, Bruce-Derrick Williams got the G-Men all the way back when he finished a cutting layup while he was fouled. His free throw tied the game at 39 with 2:58 left in the third.
On the G-Men’s next possession down, however, Williams missed a layup from close range that would have given the hosts the lead and the Wildcats took advantage.
Young — who scored a game-high 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds — got Williamsburg the lead back when he ran in from the wing and put back a teammates missed shot.
The Wildcats added to their lead right before the quarter ended as Nick Fetts cleaned up another teammate’s missed shot. The basket gave the Wildcats a 43-39 lead as the final quarter got underway.
But, as the fourth quarter started, the G-Men snatched the momentum, and lead, away from their visitors.
After the Wildcats turned the ball over on the first possession of the quarter, the G-Men started what would become a 10-0 spurt with a Bradley free throw.
By the time G-Men forward Nathan Lewis hit a free throw then converted in the post with a spin move for a layup, the hosts had jumped to a 49-43 lead.
“It changed the complexion,” McKibben said. “They made the most of their opportunities. They made some shots. A couple possessions we gave up an offensive board that they converted. Give them credit, they took advantage of that.”
When Young finally got the Wildcats on the board in the final quarter with two free throws with 3:59 left, the Wildcats were down just four points with plenty of time on the clock.
Between turnovers and missed shots, however, the Wildcats just seemed to be running out of steam.
“I think we might have been a little tired in the fourth quarter. We usually substitute a little bit more than we did tonight,” McKibben said. “We had a couple of guys coming back from injuries that didn’t get as many minutes as they usually do. Maybe that was it.”
For as well as Young played the first two and a half quarters, he wasn’t able to find his shot in the fourth quarter.
Being tired played a part but both coaches felt the G-Men’s defense did as well.
“(Jake Cropper) played outstanding on Young the second half because he had to work for every point he got,” said Georgetown coach Jerry Underwood.
It was thanks to Cropper and his fellow freshman Jacob Miller and Gage Bradley that the G-Men were able to put the game away.
The trio hit 9-13 free throws — Miller hit 8-10 by himself during the stretch — in the final 2:57 of the game. Additionally, Cropper hit a big 3-pointer with 2:08 left that opened the game up and gave the G-Men a 54-45 lead.
“All three of those guys, the past three games, have led us in scoring in double figures,” Underwood said. “Hate to say it but we’re looking to them to do what we need to have done. Even though they’re so young, it’ll pay dividends for years to come. But they don’t seem to mind it. They’re confident enough that they’ll attempt to do it.”
A Young 3-pointer got the Wildcats within six with 25. 3 seconds left but that was as close as the Wildcats could get in another tough loss.
“We’ve improved. I told the guys when we got in (the locker room) that our effort is better,” McKibben said. “We played with good effort, consistently, for four quarters.”
Williamsburg (3-13, 1-6 SBC-N) 53 Young 10 6 31, Herron 2 0 4, Workman 2 0 4, Posey 4 2 10, Fetts 2 0 4, Madsen 0 0 0, West 0 0 0, Reed 0 0 0. Totals: 20 8 53.
Georgetown (10-6, 5-2 SBC-N) 61 Bradley 4 7 15, Miller 6 8 21, Cropper 3 3 11, Williams 3 1 7, Lewis 3 1 7, Sandlin 0 0 0, Lucas 0 0 0. Totals: 19 20 61.
Halftime: W 31-27. 3-pointers: W 5 (Young 5); G 3 (Miller, Cropper 2).