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PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Vestaburg builds 42-2 advantage en route to rout over Ashley
Vestaburg forward DeWayne McKinney goes to the basket over Ashley defenders during Vestaburg's conference win at Vestaburg Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (Photo by Skip Traynor)
Vestaburg forward Austin Blanks goes to the basket over Ashley defenders during Vestaburg's conference win at Vestaburg Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (Photo by Skip Traynor)
Ashley center Dustin Harris gathers a rebound after a missed Vestaburg shot during Vestaburg's conference win Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (Photo by Skip Traynor)
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First was a Jared Hilden 3-pointer, followed by a bucket inside from double-double machine DeWayne McKinney.
Hilden proceeded to drain another 3-pointer, while Keigan Ryckman and McKinney knocked down a free throw apiece.
The Wolverines were only getting started.
By the time visiting Ashley had even scored a point Thursday night, Vestaburg had staked itself to a 32-0 lead early in the second quarter and everything was essentially decided.
With a running clock much of the second half, the Wolverines eased their way to a 63-19 victory following the dominating opening 16 minutes of action.
“One of our goals tonight was to limit their point total in the first half and we talked about being committed to defense right from the start,” Vestaburg coach Todd Halcomb said.
After the Wolverines suffered three losses in a row with all three being close games including a two-point defeat to Farwell earlier this week, they were looking for an opponent to turn around their fortunes and that just so happened to be the winless Bears.
“We really played our best game tonight,” said Vestaburg junior guard Keegan Scott, who scored 15 points. “Coming off the three-game losing streak, we knew we had to step it up and now was the perfect time to do it.”
The Wolverines (4-3, 2-2 MSAC) led 28-0 through one quarter and then scored an additional four points in the second quarter before Ashley (0-9) finally got on the board via a field goal inside from Austin Edsel.
Following that basket, Vestaburg proceeded to reel off an additional 10 straight points which included a McKinney fast-break two-handed dunk.
McKinney, who has been racking up double-doubles including a 26-point and 22-rebound effort against Farwell, fell one rebound short Thursday as he finished with 16 points and nine rebounds in just under 19 minutes of action.
“Last year, they played us tough here,” McKinney said. “I think it was only a five-point victory or close to that. We wanted to prove on our home turf that we can play at a much higher level than we did against them last year.”
With the score sitting at 42-2 midway through the third quarter, Vestaburg finally let the foot off the gas somewhat as it only outscored Ashley 21-17 the rest of the way.
“Our phrases for tonight were ‘unbreakable focus’ and ‘unbreakable effort because that is what hurt us up at Farwell Tuesday,” Halcomb said. “It was a game that could have gone either way, but we missed two one-and-ones late and then got out of our mindset which was a bitter pill to swallow but a good learning lesson.”
Scott hit three 3-pointers to help get him to 15 points, while also dishing out seven assists and coming away with four steals. Hilden also hit three 3-pointers to finish with 13 points and he also had two assists. Collin Dove finished with six points and Keigan Ryckman added five.
Ashley was paced by Bailey Felton, who had six points. Austin Edsel and Cole Welch both scored four.
Last Updated: 1/16/2014 10:36:55 PM EST