Eagles, Wildcats face off in Woodmore’s final season in NBC

Yaneek Smith

Press Sports Editor

Separated by just 13 miles — mostly via State Route 105 — Eastwood and Woodmore basketball teams know each other very well.
For the last 50 years, the Eagles and Wildcats have competed as members of the Northern Buckeye Conference and, before that, in the old Suburban Lakes League. Following this season, however, Woodmore will be leaving for the Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division.
The Eagles are 6-4 and 3-2 in the NBC following a 55-49 win over Fostoria. Eastwood had been reeling a bit as they’d lost three out of four after starting the season 4-1. In the win over the Redmen, the Eagles were able to eke out the victory by making a few more plays down the stretch than Fostoria did. Case Boos led Eastwood with 16 points, Noah Smith scored 13 and Andrew Badenhop chipped in with 10.
“We had a little bit of a slow start from the football team going to the playoffs. Everybody is battling sickness and injuries,” said Eastwood coach Jason Faykosh. “I think we’re starting to gel, starting to see some things work offensively. I think we’re progressing, and hopefully that continues for the next couple of months.”
Boos leads the team with a scoring average of 17.5 points and 4.2 assists, Brady Weaver is putting up 9.9 points per game and 4.8 rebounds while Smith is averaging 9.6 points and Badenhop leads the team with 5.1 rebounds per game.
“Boos is definitely our standout; he makes the entire offense go. He’s the point guard, the ball handler, quickest player on the floor for every game we play,” said Faykosh. “He was first team in Division V for football as a running back even though he played quarterback. Weaver has been up and down – he’s been battling sickness, and he’s our post presence inside. Badenhop has really improved. He started the year a little slow, but he’s had three or four games in a row where it’s been his best game of the year. Smith is a little streaky, but when he gets it going, he’s an elite shooter.”
Woodmore, meanwhile, is 2-7 and 2-3 in the conference, but the Wildcats are coming off a 56-45 win over Elmwood. Woodmore scored 41 points in the second half, including 28 in the fourth quarter. Brady Thatcher led all scorers with 23 points and Luke Morris finished with 15.
“Looking at our record, it would be easy to say that we have struggled during the season, but the truth is that in most of the games, we have been competitive for the majority of the game,” said Woodmore coach Aaron Clouse. “There are 3-4-minute stretches during games in which we let the game get away from us and from that point we have difficulty getting back into the game. When we start playing the full 32 minutes, we hope to have some different outcomes.”
Thatcher leads the Wildcats in scoring with an average of 11.9 points per game. Luke Morris is putting up 11.4 points, followed by Jack Everett (9.0 points) and Jon Everett (5.9 points).
“Brady Thatcher has expanded his game from his freshman season and has been attacking the basket and getting to the line more,” said Clouse. “Jack has been an offensive threat for us, and Jon has consistently kept the offense running. Luke Morris has been a great addition to the team and has provided ball handling, scoring and a defensive presence in the middle of our zone.”
Despite the close proximity of the schools, it hasn’t been much of a rivalry lately as Eastwood has dominated for the better part of the last decade. The Eagles have lost just once to the Wildcats in the previous seven seasons.
“The schools are very close together, therefore the kids are familiar with each other during this game, (but) I have difficulty calling it a rivalry because we have only won once in my tenure (eight years),” said Clouse. “They have been at the top of the league so their battles with Rossford and other teams have had more of a ‘rivalry’ feel for them. “Eastwood has always been a disciplined basketball team with smart, athletic players who play hard and compete until the end,” he said.
Faykosh, who graduated in 2009 from Eastwood, talked about his memories of playing Woodmore when he was in high school.
“I’ve always said this, Woodmore is not always the most skilled team, but when I felt like we were the favored team, Woodmore, more than any other team in the league, competed hard against us. They didn’t care if we were picked to win the league. They were going to go out there and compete for four quarters,” he said. “Some teams, if we got a 10-point lead, they’d roll over, but (Woodmore) didn’t care, they always played hard. Their goal was to win the game, and we expect a good effort from Woodmore — that’s what their coach has ingrained in them to do for four quarters.”


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