Wood captures win in season-opener vs. Vintage, 65-59

National Mortgage News

| Wood captures win in season-opener vs. Vintage, 65-59

The Will C. Wood boys basketball team edged out Vintage High School 65-59 in its Monticello Empire League opener for it’s fifth consecutive win at home.

The fourth quarter in a season-opener is naturally a taxing scenario to find yourself.

But with a large and boisterous crowd in attendance hoping to see the home team start the season on a high note, the reigning MEL champ Wildcats (11-6, 1-0 MEL) reminded the Crushers (8-9, 0-1 MEL) just how strong they are in the final eight minutes.

After missing 5-of-7 shots from the charity stripe in the first half, Wood connected on 12-of-15 free throws to bookend a 21-13 run in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve done that every game this year,” said Wood head coach Mark Wudel. “We’re always shooting well from the line in the fourth quarter. As a team, we’re shooting a high percentage from the line but we’ve shot pretty darn well in the fourth quarter.”

Wood freshman point guard Jeremiah Jones looked like a season veteran in the win as he connected on 6-of-6 free throws to help put Vintage away. The Wildcats were led in scoring by seniors Jay Nagle, Michael Wudel and junior Ricky Holland.

Nagle tickled the twine on four of Wood’s six 3-pointers for a team-high 17 points while Holland tallied 14 points and Wudel added 11. But while Tyreese Carson, Angelo Harris and Elontae Hall also played a pivotal role in the second half, the senior Wudel shed light on the fourth quarter confidence that exudes from the 5-foot-10 freshman point guard.

“(Jeremiah Jones) has no fear,” he said. “Jay is an all-world shooter and we normally want to give him the ball, and last year I missed four or five free throws, but Jeremiah has been knocking down big free throws for us all season and that’s been huge for us.”

In a back-and-forth contest that saw the Wildcats sustain a one possession lead following each quarter in the first half, Vintage took advantage of Wood’s sloppy play late in the third quarter as the Crushers captured a late lead thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from sophomore forward Imani Lopez and junior guard Max Phipps.

Vintage, which tallied a game-high 21 points in the third quarter, managed to battle back courtesy of 8-of-8 shooting from the line. But other than the 13 second-half points by Lopez and his eight points in the fourth, the Wood defense held Vintage in check and Lopez accounted for two of his team’s four fourth quarter field goals.

With one game down and plenty of season left on the horizon, arduous contests like this are the expectation on a night-to-night basis.

“Every game in league is going to be competitive,” explained Nagle after the game. “There won’t be an easy teams this year so we just want to come out and fight as hard as possible.”


Wood will look for its second consecutive league win and fifth straight win of the season Tuesday night versus Armijo High School (2-15, 0-1 MEL).


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