The Windham Bombers continue to be the class of the Portage Trail Conference County Division. Tuesday night the Bombers ran their division mark to 6-0 with only one division game remaining in the first half of the season.
Southeast came into Marty Hill Court in Windham with only one division loss and a respectable 6-3 overall record, tied with Mogadore for the runner-up spot in the division. However, the Pirates went home with their second division loss when Windham turned up the defensive heat and captured a 58-39 victory.
Four Windham players hit double figures with point guard Matt Knight leading the way with 18 points, while sophomore Parker Rickey notched 11 and Jared Taylor and Stephen Kacenski both tossed in 10 markers.
Windham veteran head coach Marty Hill said he enjoys the balanced scoring and thought all 10 players in the rotation contributed in the win, but said it was the Bomber defense that deserved the victory.
"Southeast cost us a piece of the title last year when they beat us twice. They are a very fundamentally sound man-to-man defense and Matt (Dillon) does a great job with getting them prepared to play us," said Hill. "I thought our defense won this game. We didn't really shoot the ball well in the first half and took some bad shot selections."
The Pirates (6-4, 4-2 PTC County) opened the game by scoring the first six points, but then the Bombers went on an 11-0 run to take the lead. Windham scored its first nine points off turnovers. Three straight Bomber steals and fastbreak baskets by Knight got the Bomber offense moving. The 6-foot senior scored seven points in the run.
Nathan Simyak scored a Pirate bucket with only 12 seconds left in the quarter. It was the only Southeast basket in the last five minutes of the first quarter, with the Bombers leading 11-8 at the first break.
Southeast committed six turnovers in the second quarter, four coming on traveling violations as Windham came out with a half-court trapping press. Windham's Cameron Pozsgai opened the scoring in the second quarter with a left-handed putback, and then gave his team a 10-point advantage when he hit Parker Rickey with a perfect pass for a 23-13 lead at the 3:00 mark. The Bombers maintained that lead through the second quarter and led 27-17 at intermission.
Windham (10-1, 6-0 PTC County) scored 21 third-quarter points to put the game away. Rickey and Taylor led the assault as the defense continued to force the Pirates into turnovers. Windham finished the night with 13 assist baskets as the Bombers seemed to always find the open man with some great passing. More importantly were the baskets off turnovers that continued to pile up in the third quarter.
Taylor, who was not in the scoring column with less than two minutes to play in the third quarter, scored 10 points in a span of only about five minutes. Six of those points came on fastbreak steals. The Bombers held a 21-point lead after three quarters (48-27).
"Windham is really talented and we knew coming in that we had to keep the game close in the fourth quarter," said Southeast coach Matt Dillon. "They did exactly to us what they have been doing to everyone else they play. They have those runs or spurts and a four-point lead is now a 14-point lead. We thought our kids gave great effort and we played great defensively. We were not unhappy with our performance."
Seniors Simyak and Trevor Norquest led the scoring for the Pirates with 10 points each.