Prep boys basketball: Youthful Caldwell High boys’ cagers drop 79-43 decision to River Pilots

CALDWELL – In a battle of experience versus inexperience, experience won and won big Friday evening as the visiting River Pilots crushed the youthful Caldwell Redskins 79-43 in a Pioneer Valley Conference matchup in Noble County.

River started five seniors in the game, while the Clint Crane-led Redskins do not have a single senior on their roster.

Caldwell came into the game with high hopes of pulling off an upset after losing to the Pilots by a mere four points (55-51) in its December 14 contest in Hannibal, but River came out on all cylinders from the beginning and didn’t stop for the entire 32 minutes of play.

The Pilots jumped out to a quick 11-2 lead in the first four minutes of the game sparked by five points by guard Matt Marconi.

Jonathon Wiechman tallied six points in the opening quarter for the Skins, but River still managed to claim a double-digit, 19-9 lead at the end of the first eight minutes.

The Pilots wasted little time adding on to their lead in the second period as they went on a 15-2 run, the last six coming from senior standout Brett Price, and the rout was on.

“He (Price) can score and score in bunches,” said River head coach Mark Romick, who noted that Price had tallied 30 and 40 points in earlier games this season. “Tonight he distributed the ball pretty good too.”

Wiechman scored a basket late in the second quarter on an assist from freshman Tanner Clark, but the Pilots took a comfortable 38-14 lead into intermission.

Any hopes of a second- half Redskin comeback were dashed rather quickly by the Pilots in the third quarter as an 11-2 run mad it a 33-point game (49-16) and left the only thing left to be decided the final score.

River shot a blistering 62.7 percent (32-51) from the floor in the game, including 43.8 percent (7-16) from three-point range.

“We’ve been playing really well lately,” said Romick, whose team won 16 games a season ago. “We shot the ball extremely well tonight and our defense played with a lot of intesity.”

The Pilots cleaned up on the boards as well as they out rebounded Caldwell by a healthy 37-17 margin.

Ten of the 11 players that got in the game for River scored at least a point and every single Pilot player grabbed at least one rebound in the game.

Price finished with a game-high 24 points, while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out four assists.

Marconi added 14 points, including four from behind the arc, while Cody Caldwell chipped in with 13 markers.

Caldwell was paced by Wiechman’s 18 points and eight rebounds, while Justin Figel and Caleb Heller finished with nine and eight points respectively.

Romick was obviously pleased with the performance of his squad who pulled to 11-3 overall and 7-1 in the PVC and also see’s a bright future ahead for the Redskins.

“They are very young and will have to take some lumps but they played awful hard,” said Romick of the Caldwell squad. “They have some nice players and they are going to be very good in the future.”

The Redskins, who fell to 2-10 overall and 1-7 in the conference, will return to action Sunday in the Route 40 Classic at West Muskingum as they take on Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans.