Nick Wiseman limped out of the vistors’ locker room Friday at Southeastern High School determined to keep the postgame vibe upbeat.
The Northeastern senior finished with a bruised quadricep and 15 gritty points, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Jets from suffering their seventh loss in as many outings – a 52-33 Ohio Heritage Conference setback to the Trojans.
“I got dead-legged – kneed in the quad in the second quarter and I just kept playing. Jjust gutted it out,” said Wiseman, a 6-foot-3 guard.
“(First-year) coach (John Schmid) does a real good job of keeping us positive. I have to be a leader since I’m a senior. If I’m down, they’re down.”
The hard-working, hard-luck Jets (0-7, 0-4) hung with Southeastern (3-3, 1-3) for all but the critical second quarter, when the Trojans cracked open an 11-0 run to bloat a 14-12, first-period advantage into a 30-17 halftime cushion.
“It’s tough to coach on a night like (the Jets) had tonight,” said Southeastern coach PJ Bertemes, a former Wittenberg standout who played for the Tigers during their Larry Hunter/Dan Hipsher days.
“Northeastern played hard the entire time, but sometimes you just have a tough (shooting) night. I think there are some wins out there for them.”
Down four starters from a year ago, the errant Jets didn’t score until two minutes remained in the frame and netted just five points, all from Wiseman.
“We’ve just got to keep practicing hard, playing hard, and believe,” Wiseman said. “If we believe it’s going to happen, we’ll get our wins in time.”
Southeastern point guard Jake Bertemes, a 5-8 sophomore and the coach’s son, caught fire for 15 of his game-high 22 points during the second and third periods, at one point breaking free near the top of the key for three straight 3-pointers.
He and Wiseman were the game’s only double-figure scorers.
“It was an above-average night. We made more shots than usual,” said Jake Bertemes, who also chipped in three key steals during Southeastern’s mid-game breakaway. “We’d like to get to that point every game.”
The youthful Trojans feature a freshman, two sophomores and ample speed in their starting lineup and appear poised for a turnaround with the return of James South.
South, a senior forward and two-year starter, chipped in six points in his first appearance since breaking his wrist in football.
“When you’re playing three sophomores, a freshman and juniors who played JV last year, there’s a learning curve there,” PJ Bertemes said.
“But we’ve got one of our best basketball players back and able to play now, and we haven’t had him all year.”