The Wolverines couldn't overcome a poised Pioneers team that came out firing on all cylinders.
Going into Friday night’s Class 7A, Region 2 championship game, everything had been going in Windermere’s favor.
The Wolverines (21-9) had dismantled Osceola 69-55 in the quarterfinals, before sneaking past Wharton in the semis. Unfortunately, things were much different when the Wolverines met the buzzsaw that was Oak Ridge Friday, Feb. 28.
Consistent shooting and offensive rebounds helped the Pioneers (21-8) put an end to the Wolverines’ season with a 70-51 victory.
“Out of the gate we didn't play very well and they did — credit them, they took it to us a little bit,” said Windermere head coach Mark Griseck. “They hurt us on the boards… we didn't match their physicality and didn’t match their intensity.”
Things couldn’t have started out worse for Windermere early, as the Wolverines struggled to hit shots, while the Pioneers took advantage of second chances off of offensive rebounds — leading to a 18-6 lead for the away team seven minutes into the game.
The Wolverines would finally find their footing in the last minute of the quarter as they cut the lead to 21-15, before going on to trim it down to just three points at 26-23 with 3:30 left in the half.
Just as soon as the Wolverines found their way, the turning point of the game would happen soon after, with the Pioneers going on a 9-0 run before the half — making it 35-23. The Wolverines would never recover from that run, as the Pioneers went on to push their lead to 26 points with less than five minutes to go in the game.
Despite the loss, Kanye Jones finished with 14 points, while Jaden Golston had 10 points.
For Griseck, it was a disappointing game to end the year, but it wasn't a season without its successes, he said.
“There’s so much to be proud of — I’m so proud of our guys,” Griseck said. “We didn't play well tonight, but what a great season. Like I told them, a lot of people wish they were sitting in the locker room tonight instead of sitting and watching our game.”