NANKIN — Two titles in two days.
The Western Reserve boys’ basketball team won the Firelands Conference title outright Friday night, with a 67-43 dismantling of Mapleton.
Combine that with the girls’ championship Thursday night and it was quite a two-day stretch for the Roughriders’ program.
“This group has really put in a lot of time,” Western coach Chris Sheldon said. “This group has grown so much. This senior class’ best finish was fourth place in middle school.
“To come out their senior year and win a league title, that speaks to their absolute desire to get better over the last four years,” Sheldon added.
“They also allow two juniors and two sophomores to be key pieces as well to this puzzle,” the coach said. “It all comes back to unselfishness, team chemistry and the bottom-line desire to let’s just win.”
The Riders improved to 16-2 overall and 12-1 in the FC with the victory.
The Mounties fell to 3-15 and 3-10.
“The only downside tonight was we were a little careless, too many turnovers,” Sheldon said about the Riders’ 15 miscues.
Western battled illness all week leading up to Friday’s game.
“We had a number of guys ill who missed practices,” Sheldon said. “But as deep as we are, we were able to overcome some of that.”
The Riders shot 27-of-59 from the field, which included 7-of-17 in triples. Western was 6-of-13 at the stripe, and had 30 rebounds.
Nolan Todd led the Rider attack with 14 points, including four three-pointers.
Kevin Boose added 12, while Jake Fannin and Heath Oates scored eight.
Darren Johnson, Willie Roth and Ethan Patrick all netted six.
Tyler Hower scored 13 and David Sanders added 12 for Mapleton.
“That’s a deep team, a good team, a championship team and a great program up there,” Mapleton coach Jim Hanna said about Western Reserve.
“We knew we would have to play absolutely outstanding to compete,” he added. “Chris has been on top for a long time and it might take us a few years, but we’ll get there,” Hanna said.
“Next year, we want to be able to compete even more,” the coach said. “We came out tonight and were a little inconsistent and against a good team, there’s no time to be inconsistent. When you are inconsistent, in two minutes, you can be down another 10 points. That’s the consequence.
“But I thought Tyler Hower played hard tonight and David Sanders did a nice job at the point,” Hanna said.
The Mounties were 16-of-44 from the floor, 8-of-9 at the line, grabbed 24 boards and had 21 turnovers.
The Riders led 13-8 after one quarter and upped that to 34-19 at the half.
Western Reserve returns home tonight for a big matchup with 16-2 Edison.
The Chargers claimed the Sandusky Bay Conference title outright with a 46-44 win over Clyde on Friday.
“When you play in a battle of heavyweights, it comes down to who owns the paint and who controls the glass,” Sheldon said. “It’s a lot like the line of scrimmage in football. It all starts up front.”
Mapleton goes to Brookside tonight.
Oates 4-0-8, Todd 4-2-14, Johnson 3-0-6, Yaussy 1-0-2, Schmitt 2-0-5, Boose 5-0-12, Roth 3-0-6, Patrick 3-0-6, Fannin 3-2-8. Totals 27-6-67.
Sanders 4-4-12, Hower 5-2-13, Drushell 2-0-4, Armstrong 1-0-3, Cuffman 2-2-7, Bahr 1-0-2, Gregg 1-0-2. Totals 16-8-43.
Score by quarter
W. Reserve 13 21 14 19 — 67
Mapleton 8 11 12 12 — 43
Reserve — Western 58-30.