By A.J. Atkinson | Correspondent
The Windham Bombers picked up their first Portage Trail Conference County Division win -- and third straight victory to open the season -- with a 63-39 rout over the Woodridge Bulldogs on Friday on Marty Hill Court.
After a slow start against Newton Falls on Tuesday and losing to Woodridge once last year, the Bombers came out quick after the tipoff, scoring 17 first-quarter points to Woodridge's six.
The Bombers showcased their defensive pressure, causing Woodridge to commit eight first-half turnovers, while the Bombers were much more cautious with the ball (3 turnovers).
Windham head coach Marty Hill said he was much more pleased with the team's energy and saw a huge improvement from Tuesday's game against Newton Falls.
Hill said the Bombers entered the game looking to offset Woodridge's speed and size under the basket.
Windham's 6-foot-2 Jake Viebranz, who made his first start of the season Friday night, along with 6-foot-4 Jonah Konzen went against Woodridge's 6-foot-5 Hunter Niswander and 6-foot-7 Ray Mathews. In order to limit Woodridge's shots from the lane, Hill switched his defense going into the game from man-to-man to a zone defense.
Being so outsized, Hill said finishing with one fewer total rebound to Woodridge's size was an accomplishment.
"Jake (Viebranz) would have been starting earlier if he hadn't been injured," Hill said. "I was very happy with how he played, as well as Jonah (Konzen). Jonah's been playing well at JV, so he's won himself some playing time tonight.
"It was a great team win tonight," Hill said. "A lot of our guys contributed to this win tonight."
Matt Knight, who was awarded a game ball before the game for scoring his 1,000th career point at Windham during the district championship game last year, has led the team in scoring in the two games he has appeared in. Against Woodridge, the senior guard added 15 points to his career total.
Knight benefited from the zone defense that caused Woodridge so many missed shots. As Woodridge repeatedly missed shots beneath the basket, Knight slipped down the floor, where Cameron Pozsgai and Parker Rickey hit him with deep passes after they were able to muscle down defensive rebounds.
"These guys beat us last year," Hill said of the Bulldogs. "They've had a difficult schedule so far. Ravenna is good and (Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) has a very good program."
Hill said the Bombers needed to be both congratulated for holding Bulldogs' Nelson Perry to only seven points, as well as considering themselves fortunate he was a bit off his normal game.
"(Perry) is so fast," Hill said. "He can cause a lot of problems. Tonight his shots just weren't falling. Don't be surprised if he comes back the next game and scores 20 some points."