CENTERBURG — The Utica boys basketball team was up to the challenge Friday.
Up to the challenge of playing one of the last undefeated teams in the Mid-Buckeye Conference. Up to the challenge posed by coach Eric Sheck. And up to the challenge of finishing off a team late in the game.
Utica jumped out to an early lead on host Centerburg, then held off a second-half run to post a 59-48 Mid-Buckeye Conference victory over the Trojans.
“This was a really good win,” said Utica coach Eric Sheck. “We challenged the guys to come out strong tonight. We’ve struggled in the beginnings of games the first part of this year. We hit our shots and got after it defensively. That energized the guys.”
The Redskins (6-3 overall, 4-1 MBC) came out of the gate firing on Friday. Nate Wyscarver opened the game with a 3-pointer and the Redskins took an early 8-0 lead before the Trojans (4-3, 3-1) knew what hit them.
“I knew they (the Redskins) would play hard and thought they would be the best team we’ve seen all year. They were,” said Centerburg coach Jim Simpson. “I’d like to use the excuse of the layoff. We haven’t played since last Tuesday. But, I can’t. They outplayed us. He’s (Sheck) got them playing hard. ... They are scrappy and play hard defense. They earned everything they got tonight.”
After a Garrison Myles layup for the Trojans, Utica came right back with eight more in a row to take control, 16-2.