XENIA — Each time Xenia needed to get a stop on defense, West Carrollton didn’t let it happen.
An early run combined with poor shooting doomed the Buccaneers in its season opener on Tuesday at home in a 63-47 defeat.
“Hats off to West Carrollton because we couldn’t get a stop when we needed it,” Xenia head coach Mike Arlinghaus said. “We hung around down 12 points most of the time and got it into single digits but couldn’t get a stop.”
West Carrollton led by 11 heading into the fourth quarter and the teams traded early baskets. Damien Weaver hit a three to snap a run of 16 straight missed attempts from beyond the arc for Xenia and also cut the lead to 52-43 with 5:08 remaining.
The Pirates came out of an ensuing Xenia timeout with a 7-0 run to push its lead to the largest of the game at 16 and end any Xenia hopes for a comeback.
“We just never made a play on two straight possessions,” Arlinghaus said. “Every time there was a play to be made they did it.”
Weaver led Xenia with 17 points in the contest. Kellan Starks had 12, eight of which came after halftime, and Joey Dawson added eight.
Xenia struggled throughout the night to shoot. Only converting on 33 percent of attempts from the field, the Buccaneers were 2-for-24 from three and made only 7 of 18 free throw attempts.
“In scrimmages so far we shot a lot better than that,” Arlinghaus said. “We can’t rely on shooting, but we’re better than that.”
Numerous turnovers mixed in with missed shots hindered Xenia in the early run of play. The Buccaneers were 3-for-11 from the field in the opening period with seven turnovers.
A 9-0 run midway through the quarter by West Carrollton held Xenia scoreless for three and a half minutes to help them pull away early.
Xenia cleaned it up with better shot selection and the help of some acrobatics in the second quarter, but were still unable to find anything from deep, finishing the first half 1 of 10 from beyond the arc as West Carrollton built a 12-point advantage at the break. Weaver had seven in the first half and Alijah Withers scored five.
“We got it into single digits once and I felt we competed all the way through,” Arlinghaus said. “We just did not play well. Between 2 of 24 and the free throw line, you can’t hurt yourself in both places. … We kind of hurt ourselves which you never want to do starting here.”