Into the spotlight of two teams working every angle possible to stop each other’s best player stepped Greeneview senior Wyatt Erwin.
Erwin, a first-year varsity player, remembered what he’d been coached to do and made two critical plays 29 seconds apart in the fourth quarter Friday night. His plays sparked Greeneview to a 51-40 victory over West Liberty-Salem in a showdown of the Ohio Heritage Conference’s best teams.
When Erwin saw teammate Evan Bradds drive into a double team, he knew to be in the corner. The pass came from Bradds and Erwin swished a 3-pointer for his first points and a 40-31 lead.
“I just stepped up when I needed to,” Erwin said. “I’ve made most of my 3s from the corner this year on the kick out because obviously somebody’s going to double (Bradds).”
Which is exactly what the Rams did to West Liberty star Landon Hormann on the next play. Erwin knew he was supposed to double-team if Hormann’s back was turned, and he poked the ball free toward teammate Tyler Bruntz, who went in for an easy layup and a 42-31 lead with 5:09 left.
“He’s played really well the last few games,” Rams coach Bill Green said of Erwin. “That changed the whole game and kind of pushed us over the hump where we had some breathing room.”
The Rams (16-3, 11-1) avenged their only OHC loss and are two wins from winning a third straight OHC crown. Bradds held up three fingers after the game, but he said the focus is on the next game.
“It’s getting close, but we’ve got to finish out,” Bradds said. “We don’t want to share it with anyone.”
WLS (14-5, 10-2) beat Greeneview a month ago by three points when it jumped out to an early 10-point lead. This time the Rams led 16-4 after one quarter with Bradds scoring eight of his 28 points.
“The start was an awful lot to overcome being down 12 to a quality team,” Tigers coach Aaron Hollar said. “We didn’t get that key shot or key stop.”
While the Tigers couldn’t slow down Bradds, the Rams held Hormann to 16 points, 14 coming in the second half. The Rams put sophomore Tanner Hudson on Hormann in the first half then turned to Bradds in the second.
“The way (Hudson) played Hormann, he pounded on him and did a great job,” Green said. “Because of that, as the game wore on, Hormann got tired.”