Hustling Wasps Hoops Team Buzzes Past Olympians
Woodstock’s Dougie Avellino tries to regain control after a slip before Oxbow’s Lucas Wheeler can take the ball during Woodstock’s win at home last night. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Oxbow’s Andrew Lyman takes the ball to the hoop under the reach of Woodstock’s Reid Langona last night. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Woodstock — In last Friday’s 56-41 loss at Marble Valley League frontrunner Fair Haven, the Woodstock boys basketball team played the Slaters tight in the first half before letting the game get away in the third quarter.
After a nip-and-tuck battle with Oxbow in the first half of their home opener last night, the Wasps reversed their fortunes in a 47-40 win.
Trailing 20-18 at the break, Woodstock (2-2) outscored the Olympians 16-2 in the third quarter, leading by as many as 14 early in the fourth and withstanding a late Oxbow rally for the win.
The O’s — who hadn’t played since a season-opening, 46-41 home setback against the Wasps on Dec. 10 — slipped to 0-2.
“I’d like to take the credit for what happened in the third quarter, but it was actually the kids’ idea,” Woodstock coach Jeff Thomas said.
“I thought we maybe wanted to go to a front-court man (-to-man defense), but they said, ‘No, let’s go to a 2-3 zone and take out their high cutter coming across the middle.’ That was the adjustment we made that was the biggest difference.”
The Wasps were also more aggressive, out-rebounding the visitors 16-14 in the second half despite Oxbow’s hefty size advantage. Senior Caleb Lafaille had 17 points and seven rebounds and Andrew Lyman eight and six for Oxbow, which held a 17-10 edge on the boards in the first half.
Dougie Avellino scored 12 points, Connor Fegard had 10 and Reid Langona and Nehemiah Wood seven apiece for Woodstock, which received baskets from five different players while scoring the first 12 points of the third quarter.
Fegard scored underneath to forge the fourth tie of the game, 20-20, before a layup by Langona established the fifth and final lead change.
Three-pointers from Avellino and Beda sandwiched a pair of Wood free throws to make it 30-20 and, after a jump shot from the O’s Jonny Ratel (seven points) brought it back to single digits, the Wasps went on another 6-0 run to build their largest lead, 36-22. They had several steals during the spurt.
“We just realized it wasn’t going to be an easy game and outworked them (in the third quarter),” said Avellino, who scored a season-high 17 in the first meeting against Oxbow. “We started getting some offensive rebounds and forcing some turnovers.”
Oxbow, which shot 1 for 10 from the field in the third quarter, went on a 14-6 run in the fourth, including nine unanswered, to pull within four.
Lafaille hit a 3, sophomore Matt Thomson (seven points) had a steal and fast-break layup, Ratel sank another trey and Thompson had a runner in the lane after snagging two offensive boards during to make it 42-38 with 1:09 to play.
Woodstock, 15 for 25 from the line for the game, made 4 of 5 in the final 69 seconds to seal it.
“This program hasn’t had a lot of past success, and sometimes I think it’s all in our head as to why we can’t finish out games,” said Oxbow coach Rich Thornton, whose program hasn’t had a winning season since 2001-02 and fell to 0-2 for the fifth straight year. “We didn’t maintain the intensity that we needed. Coming out of halftime, we were tentative and played not to lose instead of playing to win. I was glad that we kept battling and didn’t and didn’t quit, but we have a lot to learn from this game.”
Free Throws: In recognition of pancreatic cancer awareness, Woodstock wore purple shoot-around jerseys during pre-game warm-ups and purple socks throughout the game in honor of former Woodstock Union High School secretary Bev Lewis. She spent 30 years at Woodstock before retiring last spring and succumbing to pancreatic cancer in the fall. Lewis’ grandson, Bradley, is a junior forward who scored six points and a rebound last night. ... The Wasps unveiled the Woodstock football team’s 2012 Division III championship banner at halftime. Woodstock coach Jim McLaughlin joined many of his players in street clothes — the exceptions being hoop players Lewis, James Morgan and Wood — under the banner during the ceremony to a loud ovation. ... Oxbow senior forward Lucas Wheeler got in foul trouble early and didn’t score after landing a career-best 14 in the season opener against the Wasps. ... Fegard had a game-high 10 rebounds.
Jared Pendak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3306.