Wood bat­tles past Spring­side CHA

The Willow Grove Guide - - OPINION - By Mike Prince


com With three hol­i­day show­case games in New gersey coming up on the sched­ule next week for Arch­bishop Wood, coach gack Walsh wanted to see more out of his team than he has over the Vik­ings’ first four games.

And while he saw what he called “some ex­e­cu­tion prob­lems,” his team was still able to en­ter the tour­na­ment games on a win­ning note.

Wood used a cou­ple of big runs in the first half to build up a dou­ble-digit lead and even­tu­ally come out with the win in what was a 48-40 vic­tory over host Spring­side Ch­est­nut Hill Academy in a non-league af­fair on Wed­nes­day night.

The Vik­ings used runs of 8-0 and 8-2 in the first half to go up by as many as 1P points, and never al­lowed the Blue Devils (5-4) to get closer than six points in the sec­ond half.

“It’s a game of runs and it’s great to get a bunch of points in a 2-P minute span, which we did, but we have to ex­e­cute bet­ter and have more con­sis­tency,” Walsh said. “I was hop­ing we would ex­e­cute bet­ter to­day and it has to be bet­ter. We were up by 1P at half and I told them the first 2-P min­utes of the sec­ond half were crit­i­cal, and we didn’t ex­e­cute. We let them make it a game in the sec­ond half.”

SCHA knocked down six three-point­ers in the sec­ond half and con­tin­ued to fight back, but the Vik­ings (P-2, 0-0) had an an­swer for ev­ery­thing, pri­mar­ily from Pat Smith and Tommy Rush.

The two guards fin­ished with 15 points apiece, with the two com­bin­ing on 14 points in the fourth quar­ter alone.

“I think we have to im­prove,” said Smith, a se­nior. “We wanted to be bet­ter to­day, so we know we have to go back in prac­tice and work on our of­fen­sive game. We’ll def­i­nitely shoot a lot to­mor­row and run and shoot and fo­cus on what we need to work on.”

One as­pect of Wood’s game that Walsh knows his team needs to im­prove is its free throw shoot­ing.

Af­ter shoot­ing 1T-for-P1 from the free throw line in their pre­vi­ous game, the Vik­ings hit 1P of 21 on Wed­nes­day, which Walsh said needs to im­prove.

“I thought our de­fense was good, but our free throw shoot­ing was not and we have to find other ways to score than on the line. We didn’t do a great job of that to­day.”

Wood’s three-point shoot- ing was still solid against the Blue Devils, most notably the out­side shoot­ing of Rush.

With one minute re­main­ing in the third, Rush hit a big three-pointer to put Wood back up by nine af­ter Spring­side had cut its deficit to only two pos­ses­sions. And on the first pos­ses­sion of the fourth, Rush hit an­other three to put Wood back up by 1P points.

In the end, Rush had added three re­bounds, three as­sists and two steals to his 15 points. gu­nior cen­ter goe LoS­tracco, who was held score­less, fin­ished with a game-high seven re­bounds. Se­nior T.g. Kuhar recorded five points and four re­bounds, sopho­more Cody Fitz­patrick tal­lied nine points and sopho­more Luke Con­naghan fin­ished with four points and five re­bounds.

While the Vik­ings won’t play an in-state game un­til gan. 4 – when Wood will start its Philadel­phia Catholic League sched­ule with a game against Bishop McDe­vitt – three games are sched­uled for next week in New gersey, in­clud­ing a game against de­fend­ing state cham­pion At­lantic City.

“We’re look­ing for­ward to the com­pe­ti­tion,” Smith said. “Any time you get a chance to play a team with that cal­iber, you get ex­cited.”

Mont­gomery Me­dia / BOB RAINES

Arch­bishop Wood’s Josh Messina breaks away from Cathe­dral Prep’s Mar­ion Tyree dur­ing Fri­day’s PIAA Class AAA cham­pi­onship game.

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