Updated Wed, Mar 12, 2014 11:24 pm
It was all about defense in the Convocation Center for the Bishop Ready Silver Knights, as they forced 23 turnovers in a 47-35 victory over the Wheelersburg Pirates. The win advances the Silver Knights to the District III regional final.
Right off the tip, quick hands and scrappy defense for Bishop Ready harassed Wheelersburg into committing three straight turnovers. Senior guard Kelly Culbertson disrupted nearly every Pirate possession with his perimeter on-ball defense, coming away with four total steals on the night.
“We hang our hat on the defensive end,” head coach Don Worstell said. “Everyone has good shooting days and bad ones, but you can always defend.” Worstell explained that his team takes pride in bringing a high intensity on defense. The Silver Knights thieved their way to 14 total steals and countless pass deflections.
The Pirates were patient on offense and even shot the ball at a higher percentage (.48) for the game, but failed to get into a rhythm because of all of their turnovers. Juniors Jacob Spradlin and Austin May carried the load for Wheelersburg, combining for 21 points, but the team’s most consistent scorer, senior forward Dylan Miller, only added two points on one of six shooting. Miller has used his 6 foot 3 frame to score from inside and out all season, but Bishop Ready’s hostile defense shut him down.
Coming out of the locker room with a 22-19 lead, the Silver Knights picked up their energy to put the game out of reach. They began the third quarter on a 7-0 run and held the Pirates without a bucket for the first three and a half minutes. With a larger lead, Bishop Ready was able to be patient in their offensive sets and milk the clock. On their opening possession of the fourth, they held the ball for an entire minute before senior Myles Fowler hit an open three.
With the victory, the Pirates will travel back to the Convo to face the Valley Indians in the district finals on Saturday, March 15.
“It will be an interesting matchup,” said Worstell. “The two teams are very similar at a talent standpoint but we are very different in our style of play.”
Worstell emphasized that playing as a team will be essential if they are to emerge as District III champions and advance to the Final Four.