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Demons downed by Simon Kenton

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By Ryan Naus

Entering this season, Williamstown boys’ basketball coach Stacey May knew he would rely on his two returning players with varsity experience, seniors Storm Mason and Eric White.

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May knew that his seniors would lead their team in big games, but also hoped that the younger players would gain confidence as they gained varsity experience.

When the Demons faced four-time defending district champion Simon Kenton, the Pioneers were able to come away with a 61-34 victory in part because they had players who had been there before and knew what it takes to win during the district tournament.

“We missed a lot of easy shots, but they executed extremely well,” May said. “That was the best I’ve seen them play. I thought Matt Reilly had a really nice game and with Cody Chambers being out, we knew we had to make someone other than Casey Sorrell and Nick Gray beat us.”

“It’s disappointing because it wasn’t what the team wanted,” Mason said. “We gave them too many easy buckets off of transition and off rebounds.”

Sophomore Jake McKinley started the game by drilling a three pointer, but Simon Kenton responded with consecutive three pointers. Mason was fouled on the Demons’ next possession, knocking down a free throw, but on their next two possessions, the Pioneers pushed the ball, getting layups to go ahead 10-4.

After junior Derrick King made a free throw, Simon Kenton answered with a bucket, but sophomore Colton Simpson scored on an inbounds play to get the Demons within five points.

The Pioneers came back down the court and hit a three pointer, but the Demons broke the Pioneers’ press, finding Simpson under the basket for an easy score. After a Simon Kenton tip-in, the Pioneers led 17-9 at the end of the first quarter.

Simon Kenton started the second quarter with five straight points, before White scored and made a free throw to make it 22-12. Mason followed with two free throws, but Williamstown missed a chance to get within six points when they were called for an offensive foul. Simon Kenton took advantage of Williamstown’s mistake, outscoring the Demons 7-1 to end the half and go ahead 29-15.

The Pioneers extended their lead in the third quarter, outscoring Williamstown 14-9, as the Demons were never able to get back in the game on their way to the 61-34 loss.

“We came out with a good start, but we couldn’t answer them,” White said. “Anytime you go into the districts and play Simon Kenton, you’re always at a disadvantage. They are usually deep and have a lot of experience, something we lacked this year. But we grew up a lot, especially the younger players.”

The Demons entered the game with a hot hand from beyond the three point arc, shooting about 50 percent over their previous three games, but were unable to continue making those shots against the Pioneers.

“We didn’t shoot it well, percentage-wise, at all,” May said. “We missed some easy shots early and anytime you’re playing a school the size of Simon Kenton, you’re going to have to hit those shots if you want to compete with them.”

The Demons will have to move on without Mason and White, who May knows he will miss.

“I can’t say enough good things about Storm and Eric,” May said. “Storm never hurts us and always helps us. Eric came with his intensity every night and plays as hard as he possibly could. We’ll miss them next year.”

The Demons will return one junior, four sophomores and three eighth graders who gained varsity experience this season.

“With age and a little more savvy, I think they will be successful because the players work so hard,” May said. “We’re still going to be young next year, but we’re going to continue to build.”