WOOD RIVER — Entering Friday night’s game against Kenesaw, the Wood River boys basketball team was riding a six-game losing streak.
The Eagles certainly didn’t play like a team with only seven wins in 20 games. They took command from the get-go and picked up a 69-56 victory over the Blue Devils (17-4) on senior night.
The win was a long time coming for Wood River head coach Dave Bahe.
“It’s about time,” Bahe said. “This is one of the better games we’ve played and I knew we were capable of playing (it). It was a good time to put it together.”
Wood River took control right from the tip, thanks to seven first quarter points from Paul Soto, who connected on a jumper and later nabbed a steal and converted on the other end to put the Eagles up 12-9.
Kenesaw’s Preston Schnitzler kept the Blue Devils’ first quarter deficit small, adding eight first quarter points.
Tyson Burr knocked down a three-pointer to bring the Blue Devils within four at the 2:35 mark, but Soto found the basket again and Wood River led 20-15 after one quarter of play.
The Eagles kept up their hot shooting in the second quarter. Angeles Melgoza and Grant Swanson had big contributions, scoring eight and six points apiece.
The second quarter highlight came from a Melgoza backdoor layup that pushed the Eagles’ lead to 10.
Melgoza, who led all scorers with 22 points, knocked down a three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining to put Wood River up 41-27 at halftime.
Wood River continued clicking offensively in the second half. The Eagles had five different scorers in the quarter, including Melgoza, who knocked down two more three-pointers.
Wood River combined for 17 assists, and Bahe felt that played a major role in the team’s success.
“We found the open guy and we played really good and unselfish basketball,” he said. “We were taking good shots, we were in rhythm on offense and we pushed the ball and attacked the rim, which were some of the things we haven’t been doing the past six games.”
Kenesaw had six different players score in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late for the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils’ defense was “non-existent” in the first half, according to Kenesaw head coach Jack Einrem.
“For the last four or five games, our defense in the first quarter has been non-existent,” Einrem said. “Tonight, it was two quarters. We gave up 20 in the first and 21 in the second. We just aren’t executing on defense and that’s what lost us the game tonight.”
Einrem believes his team will find a way to regroup and make a run in the postseason tournament, which start next week.
“Well we have one day to do it (turn it around) and that’s what we talked about in the locker room. I think they will (bounce back),” he said. “We’ve got some good seniors who will get everyone straightened out.”
Tyson Burr 6-12 1-4 15 Preston Schnitzler 5-14 4-6 18 Austin Anderson 1-1 0-0 2 Ryan Denkert 1-5 2-2 4 Keaton Harpham 0-3 2-2 2 Sofian Maguilej 0-2 1-1 1 Will Gallagher 1-5 0-0 3 Chris Bures 0-5 2-4 2 Carson Woodman 2-5 5-6 9
Wood River (69)
Angeles Melgoza 8-13 2-3 22 Paul Soto 5-13 2-2 14 Jacob Fines 1-2 2-3 3 Nicholas Devore 3-5 2-2 8 Garret Reeder 2-5 0-0 5 Zach Archer 1-1 0-0 2 Alex Rodenbaugh 0-1 0-0 0 Grant Swanson 0-1 1-2 1 Tanner Hermann 4-7 0-0 11