Van Meter outlasts host Woodward-Granger boys for WCC victory

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Woodward-Granger's Derick Morgan is fouled by Van Meter's Carter Coppinger while shooting in the third quarter of their WCC meeting Friday. Bulldog defenders J.J. Durflinger (3) and Blake Fryar (11) surround Morgan, with Brady Aunspach (20) and Bodie Harrison (24) on the floor for the Hawks.

WOODWARD — Visiting Van Meter saw a lopsided early lead disappear to a frantic rally from Woodward-Granger, but weathered the storm to slip away from their hosts for a 68-52 win Friday in West Central Conference boys basketball action.

A moment of silence was held before the game in honor of W-G player Drew Jacobson, the 16-year old junior who passed away Monday and whose funeral was held before a crowd of well-wishers now estimated at over 1,000 on Thursday┬áin the same gymnasium. When it became known that Jacobson’s favorite color was red, students and fans from both schools decided to wear red to the game. Both teams sported red socks, with the Bulldog cheerleaders wearing red t-shirts over their uniforms in a sign of solidarity.

A soup supper was held prior to the game, with a silent auction of various sports memorabilia also held. Proceeds from both will be given to the Jacobson family to help defray expenses.

Russ Jacobson (front) poses with the Woodward-Granger student section Friday, all of whom sported red in honor of Drew Jacobson, the 16-year son of Russ and W-G junior who passed away Monday.
Russ Jacobson (front) poses with the Woodward-Granger student section Friday, all of whom sported red in honor of Drew Jacobson, the 16-year son of Russ and W-G junior who passed away Monday.

While Van Meter may have shown sympathy with their rivals, no sense of mercy was evident on the court, as the Bulldogs blitzed their hosts with an early 11-0 run that silenced the large home crowd.

The guests led, 17-4, when baskets from Marcus McConahay, Bodie Harrison and two hoops from Nick Squires trimmed the Hawk deficit to 17-12 at the end of one frame. The six-minute surge continued into the next stanza, with a Brady Aunspach 3-pointer and a Harrison basket giving W-G a 19-17 lead with five minutes left in the half.

Zach Forret scored off an offensive rebound to snap the Bulldog funk, with a series of scores from Alec Pothoff helped the visitors re-open a small lead and take a 32-25 advantage into the locker room.

W-G (1-3, 0-4) mounted several small spurts in the third quarter, but Van Meter (3-2, 3-1) had an answer every time and increased their lead to 11 points, at 49-38, entering the final quarter.

Woodward-Granger's Derick Morgan tries a reverse layup as Van Meter's J.J. Durflinger pulls up during Friday's WCC contest in Woodward.
Woodward-Granger’s Derick Morgan tries a reverse layup as Van Meter’s J.J. Durflinger pulls up during Friday’s WCC contest in Woodward.

The hosts were hampered by foul trouble, particularly when Nick Squires was forced to sit through much of the second and all of the third quarter with four fouls. His absence helped create additional space on the perimeter for the Bulldog guards to find open shots or else drive to the basket and dish the ball off to open teammates.

The Hawks continued to scrap, but went cold from the floor despite playing with a high level of energy, and the Bulldogs were able to do just enough damage at the foul line — they outscored the Hawks, 18-5, at the stripe — down the stretch to fend off any thoughts of an upset.

Potthoff led all scorers with 25 points for the Bulldogs, with Ben Trent adding 10 points and Forret and Mitchell Pomeroy eight points apiece. Blake Fryar scored seven points, Jack Trudo and Kyle Schmitt four apiece and J.J. Durflinger two to account for the Van Meter scoring.

Harrison’s 15 points paced W-G, with Derick Morgan contributing 11 points and Aunspach nine. McConahay and Squires finished with six points apiece, with Jake Greenwood scoring three points and Brody Easter two.

W-G will entertain Ogden Tuesday before traveling to Madrid Friday. The Tigers have declared the game a “red-out” in honor of Jacobson and will be donating all concession proceeds to the Jacobson family. The pre-holiday half of the season will end Dec. 22 with a trip to Panorama.

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