The Big Walnut boys basketball team was in the game until midway through the fourth quarter, but a series of turnovers doomed its chances of winning as it fell 60-48 to visiting Westerville North Friday night in its first game at the newly built high school.
Both teams came out of the gate swinging.
The Golden Eagles took an 8-3 lead early, then Westerville North junior wing Carter Reese scored five points in a row to tie it. Noah Lawrence, the point guard for the Warriors, hit two threes in the opening quarter and Westerville North found itself up 16-15 after one.
“It was a great atmosphere out there tonight, the crowd was great,” Big Walnut head coach Brett Bartlett said. “It was exciting. I wish we could have had a different outcome.”
Big Walnut played a lot better on both ends in the second quarter and at one point led 24-18, but the Warriors trimmed the lead to two by halftime and went into the locker room trailing 28-26.
BW senior guard Carter Imertreijs was perfect from the field in the half. He hit two threes, scored 12 points off the bench and added a dime of an assist to 6-foot-10 center Will Baden.
Bartlett said it was Imertreijs’ first time not starting and he loved what he was able to contribute in his new role.
Lawrence hit an open three at the beginning of the third quarter to give the Warriors the lead again and that set the tone for how the half was going to go. The Warriors scored the first five points of the half. A controversial charge was called on Baden midway through the third quarter and it ended up being a big momentum swing as it was pretty much all Westerville North from that moment on.
BW sophomore wing Garrett Stover finally got in the game in the third and added two layups, but the Golden Eagles were still down 37-36 after three quarters of play.
The Warriors dominated the fourth quarter, outscoring BW 23-12. They turned it up a few notches defensively and went on a big run. Westerville North freshman wing Micah Young had three steals in the quarter and got layups on two of them, which sucked all of the life out of the gym. The third one helped expand the Warrior lead to 47-40 with a little under four minutes to play and effectively shut the door on any chance of an Eagle comeback. Young finished the game with 21 points.
“There was a stretch there in the fourth quarter, it was 41-40, we had three straight turnovers that led to three straight baskets for them and that was the ballgame,” Bartlett said. “Besides the South game, we’ve been in every single game. We’re not making plays down the stretch and other teams are. We’ve got to put it together for 32 minutes.”
Imertreijs had 14 points in the game and Baden finished with 10 points in the tough loss.
Big Walnut is scheduled to host Dublin Scioto on Jan. 11. They will travel to take on Canal Winchester on Jan. 14.