Fresh from two disappointing O-K Gold losses on the road, one by three points and the other by three in double overtime, coach Mike Hudson’s group needed a really quality outing to help get over the rough patch they hit at Middleville Thornapple Kellogg and Gramd Rapids Ottawa Hills.
They had a really nice start, one that even Hudson had to be satisfied with, resulting in a 24-2 lead. And this time, the ballgame was all over but the shouting instead of the awful comeback that Middleville did a week earlier.
The Wildcats should have been sued for harrassment of ball handlers, as all Cougars in possession of the ball immediately were pestered into making mistakes for which they paid dearly. Wayland was getting a lot of easy fast-break baskets off steals and defensive pressure.
Sophomore Avery Hudson drilled a three-point field goal near the end of the first quarter to put an exclamation point on a statement that said “We’re back!”
Though the hectic pace of the first period did not continue, Catholic Central essentially was doomed for the rest of the evening. The visiting quintet climbed back a bit to make the score look more respectable. They outscored their hosts 15-8 in the second quarter, but spent almost all of the second half trailing by at least 20 points and prompting Hudson to empty his bench early in the fourth stanza.
Catholic Central had absolutely no way to cope with 6-9 senior pivot Lacey James, who scored 23 points and hauled down 20 rebounds, like a man playing amongst boys. Hudson finished with 14 points and 6-5 sophomore Zac Nieuwkoop added 12.
James went on a tear in the third quarter and the Wildcats went up 47-19, turning the whole affair into a rout.
Senior point guard Dilon Aten was unusually quiet in the scoring column, seemingly content just to run the offense and make some nice passes for seven assists, and he came up with five steals.
Nick Marosi’s little bother Hunter scored 13 points for Catholic Central, which was led by Sean Campbell’s 16 points.
The Wildcat boys now are 8-2 for the season overall and they will be at home Tuesday night against Hastings.
Interestingly, Middleville Thornapple Kellogg, after scoring the big upset a week ago over Wayland, has lost twice since, to Grand Rapids Northview and to Ottawa Hills. Both TK and Ottawa will have to visit the Wildcats’ lair the next time around. For the O-K Gold Conference race, stay tuned.
PHOTO: Lacey James scored 23 points to lead Wayland to a therapeutic victory over Grand Rapids Catholic Central.