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Shorthanded Williamstown takes down Wahama

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Williamstown’s Sam Cremeans handles the ball as Wahama’s Will McCallister (24) defends during a high school boys basketball game Thursday. Williamstown won, 49-42.

WILLIAMSTOWN — Although Class AA, No. 2 Williamstown was on upset alert here Thursday evening, the Yellowjackets managed to hold off Wahama 49-42.

Head coach Scott Sauro’s Yellowjackets, who welcome in Tyler Consolidated on Tuesday, were competing without four of their top eight players. On top of that, point guard Garret Hill left the game early in the third with an ankle injury and first team all-stater Sam Cremeans picked up his fourth foul with 5:14 to go in the third after White Falcon Michael VanMatre drew a charge.

However, Seth Hammer hit a key 3 for the final field goal of the third to give WHS a 33-29 cushion. Wahama, now 2-7 with a home game Saturday versus Point Pleasant, closed to within one in the fourth, but Louis Goodnow had a timely trifecta, Cremeans hit two late foul shots and Hammer converted 3 of 4 from the charity stripe down the stretch as the ‘Jackets improved to 8-1.

“He’s a hard worker. He’ll get back,” coach Sauro noted of Hill, who had four points, two assists, seven rebounds and a game-high three steals. “He was playing a great game and rebounding the ball like crazy from the point guard spot. Obviously, it wasn’t a pretty game to watch. I was proud of the kids for battling.

“Shots weren’t falling. It was little bit of a tough night offensively. We got into some foul trouble early. As far as the foul situations goes it was kind of like a worst case scenario given our limited bench anyway. It was great to see those kids fight through that and still be victorious.”

Cremeans, who finished with a game-high 19 points, gave the hosts a 7-3 lead when he hit a trifecta with 4:15 left in the first. He soon picked up his second foul and Wahama ended the period on a 9-0 run to go ahead by five. Bryce Zuspan started the spurt with a baseline jumper and Josiah Lloyd followed with a 3. Sawyer Vanmeter, who went for 14 points and tied ‘Jacket Baylor Haught for game-high rebounding honors with 11, scored on a putback and Will McCallister’s deuce capped it.

Ryan Wager opened the second with a 3 for part of his 11 markers and then Cremeans scored seven straight for a 17-12 edge. Hill scored the final four points of the half as the ‘Jackets led 25-17 at the break.

Wahama came out firing in the third as Gray hit from downtown, VanMatre got a putback and then Vanmeter drained a trey, which made it 25-all at the 6:09 mark. Hill had previously left 14 seconds earlier. Prior to picking up his fourth foul, Cremeans hit a 3 to break the tie and put the ‘Jackets ahead for good.

Williamstown pushed ahead 38-29 early in the fourth after another Goodnow triple, but the White Falcons tallied eight straight to cut it back to one, 38-37. Gray, who finished with nine points, knocked down a 3, Vanmeter had a putback and Lloyd also connected from downtown.

Goodnow’s assist to Cremeans put WHS ahead by three and halted the run. Wahama trailed 44-39 with 69 ticks left after a Goodnow 3, but Gray answered that to cut it back to two with 0:48 to go.

With time running out, Wahama had to commit four fouls to put the ‘Jackets on the line. However, the sixth foul was called intentional after Cremeans, who canned both free throws at the 0:21 mark, was shoved in the chest.

Wahama limited the ‘Jackets to 28.9% (13 of 45) and shot 36.2% (17 of 47). Williamstown, which made 16 of 18 foul shots compared to Wahama’s 1 of 2 showing, went 7 of 33 from deep with the White Falcons going 7 of 23.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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