The Toledo Christian boys basketball team knew it was in for a tough season opener when Holgate visited the Eagles gym last night.
So who could have predicted the Eagles would roll to a 50-20 victory over the Tigers?
Holgate is arguably the best Division IV program in Ohio, Toledo Christian coach Dave McWhinnie said. We just wanted to compete with them on a hard level, and we thought we might have a chance to win.
But I never would have imagined that the score would be what it was for us.
Toledo Christian used a 16-2 run over the first six minutes of the second quarter to break the game open, building a 27-12 lead at halftime. Holgate came no closer than 15 points the rest of the way to fall to 1-1 on the young season.
Coach McWhinnie had his kids well prepared, they played really hard and were hungry, Holgate coach Paul Wayne said. They played with passion. Our kids didn t play with passion. I apologize for our effort.
It was nice to see their passion get rewarded, to be quite honest.
Toledo Christian benefited from several surprises. One was the team s bench, which contributed 18 points, including a game-high 12 points from Kyle Whitlow.
We have a lot of good players coming off the bench, McWhinnie said. I have a lot of hard decisions to make on playing time every night. I feel I have five or six guys off the bench who can contribute, and that s a big advantage to us.
Powell and Boris got into early foul trouble, and I had to bring guys like [Carson] Oostra, [Joe] Claytor and [Kyle] Whitlow off the bench. They all played great.
Whitlow played only four junior varsity games last season because of a broken elbow suffered during the soccer season.
My teammates just got me the ball, Whitlow said. My points came from great dishes by my teammates. We played great defense, and I just did what I could.
Another area the Eagles dominated was on defense, normally a Holgate forte. Toledo Christian allowed the Tigers to make just 6 of 22 shots from the floor and committed 16 turnovers.
Holgate s top scoring threats, seniors Joe Baker and Logan Brubaker, scored just four and two points, respectively.
We wanted to get their two best players, Brubaker and Baker, into foul trouble, Whitlow said. We pushed it down low when we could.
Toledo Christian outrebounded the Tigers 21-16, led by four each from three different Eagles.
They are very physical inside with three big, strong, physical guys, so we knew we needed to match them in the rebounding, McWhinnie said. We thought our guard quickness would be to our advantage, but we needed to neutralize their big guys.
And Ethan Michael did a great job on defense against Brubaker. Ethan is long and athletic, and he plays really hard.
While those areas may have been surprises to local basketball fans, they were no surprise to Wayne.
We play [Toledo Christian] the first weekend of the year, so we don t see them the rest of the year, he said. I ve heard things about them over the summer traveling far and wide and playing good competition.
They re doing things the right way, going up against the good teams in the summertime, and it s paying off for them.
Contact John Wagner at: email@example.com or 419-724-6481.