Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Defense gets WRHS boys off and running

Wolverines hold off Filer 51-45 in home debut

It's still early in the season, but the shorthanded Wood River High School varsity boys' basketball team desperately needed a spark before a jam-packed home crowd that wanted to yell like crazy Friday night in the Hailey gym.

Defense, the running game and a career-best scoring effort from senior Matt Staskiewicz (19 points) provided the spark as Wood River (1-1) held off the Filer Wildcats (0-3) 51-45 in a non-conference contest and home debut on the Hailey floor.

Alluding to the absence of injured starters Erik Jacobson and Michale Brunker, Wood River coach John Radford said, "It was a tremendous win especially playing shorthanded, essentially with seven guys. We got key rebounds and the kids scrapped like crazy. Also, the crowd was tremendous. They gave us a huge lift."

Wood River, trailing 27-25 at half and coming off a 46-point loss at #1-ranked 4A school Century of Pocatello Wednesday, made two clutch steals and converted four straight fast break buckets on an 8-0 run starting the third period.

Greg Wakefield, Brian Tidwell, Staskiewicz and Pat Patterson, from Staskiewicz, all scored on transition.

The Wolverine lead grew to 10 after a 3-point play by junior Wakefield (9 points) early in the fourth. But Filer stormed back into a 45-45 tie with an 11-1 run on the scoring of senior Tyson Johnson (17 points, four 3-pointers) and sophomore Bryce Beard (14, two 3s).

At that point, with 1:38 left in regulation, Staskiewicz muscled into the paint with a Ross Parsons pass. He banked a 10-foot shot then made the 3-point play. With time ticking away Staskiewicz canned three of four charities to ice it.

Like Staskiewicz, Tidwell (7 points) played to the end with four personal fouls. Other scorers were Keven Abbott (7 points, one 3-pointer), Parsons (5 points), Patterson (2) and Alberto Vazquez (2).

"Matt had a great all-around game," said Radford. "Keven gave us a huge lift off the bench and Brian had a key stretch.

"What happened was our match-up zone started matching up and we made some things happen. We felt Filer would make a run at us and they did, but we tried to tell the kids not to panic and to try to play to win. They made a few poor choices, but they also made some positive decisions toward the end of the game."

The Wolverines held Filer eight points below the Wildcat season scoring average. But the perimeter shooting 'Cats (seven 3-pointers) were right on target with their trifecta average of seven per game.

Wood River, with five home games scheduled before Christmas, hosts Pocatello today, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in its first Great Basin Conference match-up of the young season.

The Indians (0-2) are looking for their first win after Friday's 65-60 home loss to #1-ranked Skyline of Idaho Falls (2-0) and Wednesday's 58-51 loss at another highly-rated 5A school, #2-ranked Idaho Falls.

Pocatello is feared for its full court defensive pressure and also for the outside shooting of Jordan Steele, who scored 23 points against Skyline.

The 4A Wolverines then tip off against two former 3A Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference rivals this weekend, traveling to Kimberly (1-0) Friday and hosting Buhl (0-2) Saturday. Wood River split with both teams last season, winning at home against Kimberly and also winning at Buhl.

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