SUNBURY – The Big Walnut boys basketball team used a 27-3 run over the final 11 minutes, 10 seconds of the first half to run away with a 71-32 win over Watkins Memorial in non-league play Wednesday night.
Lincoln Bullock opened the game with a three-pointer, then added a second long one with 5:05 left in the first quarter and the Golden Eagles led the rest of the way.
“(Watkins) played a zone right away, which was a little bit of a surprise,” BW coach Brett Bartlett said. “We moved the ball well and Lincoln made those shots early and it kind of got them out of it.”
Marcus Peaks put back an offensive rebound to cut the Watkins deficit to 9-7 with 3:51 left in the opening quarter.
Then, Jared Kreager and Caleb Conrad scored on back-to-back possessions to push the BW lead to six.
“I feel like we know how to work together really well,” Kreager said. “As a team – we really know how to play with each other and our offense worked really well.”
Reece McNeely scored off a feed from Eli Wilson with 2:18 left in the first and that was the last Watkins basket of the half.
Kreager knocked down a three-pointer from the corner and the Eagles (2-0) were off to the races from there.
“It was an overall great execution of the game plan,” Bartlett said. “Our kids went out there and completely executed everything we’ve been working on for two days. I’m really happy with that and with their focus and their ability to execute a game plan.”
Ball movement was a strength for BW, which had 10 assists on 11 made baskets in the first half and 14 on 19 for the game.
“We have great chemistry (and) we work hard in practice,” Kreager said. “We run a great offense and we know how to work within it. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so we know how to get each other open.”
Kreager scored 11 points, added six rebounds, five assists and four steals for BW, which had 13 thefts as a team.
“Jared is good ball player,” Bartlett said. “He’s pretty heady, he’s pretty smart and he uses his body well. He found the open man a couple of times too when he was driving and they collapsed on him. It was a great game by him.”
Kegan Hienton led with 14 points and six rebounds, Jacob Krous added 11 points, Bullock chipped in nine and Conrad led with eight rebounds to go with eight points for the Eagles.
“Everybody that stepped on the floor … contributed in some way for us,” Bartlett said. “It was a great game overall.”
Peaks finished with eight points and nine rebounds for Watkins (0-2).
Next up, BW travels to Canal Winchester to open up OCC-Capital play Friday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Olentangy 112, Briggs 106, 4OT
Ethan Smith hit a three to send the game to overtime and, three overtimes later, the Braves escaped with a thrilling non-league win over the host Bruins Wednesday night in Columbus.
Smith finished with a team-best 30 points in the win — a game in which Olentangy poured in a school record 112 points.
“We just outlasted them … that’s what it really came down to,” Braves coach John Feasel said. “A couple of their better guys fouled out and we kinda just limped in to the finish line. It was a great battle.”
Jake Elmore backed Smith with 21 points while Austin Brown finished with 18 in the win.
Olentangy is back in action Friday, set to open league play against visiting Westerville South. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m.