By Michael Rich
Bishop Watterson used a 13-3 run to deliver a first-round knockout and answered every rally on its way to a 56-39 win at Buckeye Valley in boys basketball non-league action Saturday afternoon in Delaware.
“We got it handed to us,” Barons coach Andy Gast said. “Give credit to Watterson — they came out, they punched us in the mouth and we didn’t respond.”
Mike Schweitzer scored six points in the initial run and 14 points in the first half to help the Eagles (9-2) seize control.
“I told our kids that this is the kind of team we have to elevate our game to,” Gast said. “(Watterson) is one of the best Division II teams in the Central District. For us to win tournament games and get our program to the next level, we’ve got to match their intensity and their physical play.”
The Barons’ four losses this season have been to two Division I teams (Delaware Hayes and Olentangy Orange) and two of the top D-II teams, including Columbus South.
Mitch Rotondo had a steal at half court and finished with a layup to cut the early deficit to 13-7 for the Barons (9-4). Rotondo finished with eight points, three rebounds and a pair of assists.
Andy Cotter’s three-pointer at the end of the first quarter gave Watterson an 18-7 lead and the Barons never got it to single digits again.
Watterson had 18 assists on 25 made baskets for the game and used ball movement and back-door cuts for easy baskets underneath to gain control.
The Eagles outscored Buckeye Valley 16-8 in the second quarter, including eight points by Scweitzer. He finished with 16 points, four rebounds and two blocks.
After Tim Schilling hit three at the line and Jesse Tomlinson found Nick Hyatt for three, the Barons pulled it to 36-23 early in the third.
“They played a zone on us and we got some open looks,” Gast said. “We just didn’t make shots. I feel that my teams always play hard, but the physicality of Watterson, I thought we matched that a lot better (in the second half).”
Led by Nate Boone’s six quick points, Watterson responded with a 13-0 run to take a 52-33 lead in the fourth. He finished with eight points, four assists and three rebounds.
Hyatt hit three three-pointers in the final minutes and BV outscored Watterson 14-4 to close it out. Hyatt led the Barons with 14 points and two assists.
The Eagles outrebounded BV 33-15.
“I thought we were banging inside for rebounds, I thought we were going for loose balls harder,” Gast said. “That’s the way that you have to play them because they are tough and physical.”
Alex Will had 13 points and four steals for the Eagles. Dylan Egle pulled down a game-high eight rebounds and Adam Gilles had a game-high seven assists. He had six rebounds and finished with five points.
BV hosts Highland in non-league action Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.
“Our No. 1 goal is to win our league,” Gast said. “But our second goal is to win some games in the tournament and (Watterson is) the kind of team that we’re going to see in the tournament.”
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.