Wildcats down Rockets with three-point barrage

Williamsburg junior Landon Ridener drives toward the hoop in the Wildcats' 81-57 victory over Fayetteville on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016.

Williamsburg junior Landon Ridener drives toward the hoop in the Wildcats' 81-57 victory over Fayetteville on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016.

By Garth Shanklin
Sports Editor

The Williamsburg Wildcats’ boys basketball team hit a total of 12 three-pointers in an 81-57 victory over the Fayetteville Rockets on Dec. 23.

Williamsburg launched bombs from behind the arc early and often against the Rockets. Drew McKibben started the game by scoring the first five points for Williamsburg, including the team’s first three-pointer.

By the end of the first quarter, the Wildcats connected on four three-pointers, two by Nate Bogan, to take an 18-3 lead after one period. Fayetteville’s only points of the quarter came on a three-point shot by Max Lanham with less than two minutes remaining.

Williamsburg head coach Dan McKibben said the team was able to score points in bunches in the first period again, something the squad has had success with of late.

“We’ve had about two or three games in a row where we’ve scored a ton of points in the first quarter,” Dan McKibben said. “Shots were falling. We’re kind of getting used to it, hopefully it continues.”

Defensively, Dan McKibben said the Wildcats were able to switch off their defense, which helped put pressure on the Rockets’ shooters.

“We pressured them a bit,” Dan McKibben said. “We knew who their shooters were, so we switched on them and tried to get out a little bit. We were able to rebound their misses, they weren’t hitting well in the first quarter.”

Zack Smyth got the offense for Fayetteville going in the second quarter, scoring nine of Fayetteville’s 20 points. Jacob Wells countered with six for Williamsburg, with Landon Ridener adding a three-pointer. Williamsburg led 34-23 at the break.

Ridener added eight points in the third quarter and six more in the fourth to help keep Williamsburg ahead. The Wildcats also connected on seven more three-pointers in the second half, two by Trent Kreimer, en route to the 24-point win.

Ridener led all scorers with 18 points. He also hauled in six rebounds. Wells tallied a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds. He also blocked two shots. Bogan added 15, Drew McKibben scored 14 and Kreimer chipped in 11 for the Wildcats, who had nine players score at least two points in the game.

Williamsburg connected on 12 of 25 three-point attempts, good for 48 percent from the field. The team shot 53 percent overall, and 50 percent from the free-throw line. The amount of three-pointers taken against the Rockets was a product of a team determined to shut down Wells in the interior, forcing Williamsburg to take more perimeter shots.

“If we’re not hitting shots, then they double down on Jacob [Wells],” Dan McKibben said. “The thing we’re trying to stress now is what’s a good shot out there and what’s not. Coming down off the dribble is not a good shot from out there, but if it goes inside to [Wells] and comes back out, that’s what we’re looking for.”

The victory for Williamsburg was the team’s seventh consecutive victory, dating back to a Dec. 2 loss to Goshen on the road. The win is helpful to the team, providing a boost of confidence before a tough non-conference stretch.

“It gives us a lot of confidence,” Dan McKibben said. “We’re off to a pretty good start, we’ve won quite a few in a row here. We’ve got two tough road games coming up with Reading and Madeira, both of them are big, physical and aggressive. It gives us a lot of confidence heading into a pair of pretty tough games.”

Williamsburg’s contest at Reading on Tuesday, Dec. 27 did not end before press time. The Wildcats visit Madeira on Friday, Dec. 30 for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.