Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2013, 9:30 pm

Late losses only toughened up Geese for postseason

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By Terry Duckett, tduckett@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Welvaert
West Carroll guard Nick Hughes tries to find an opening in the Wethersfield defense in their match up at the Warkins Cardinal Classic, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, at the Erie High School gym.
After its championship at the Lincoln Trail Conference boys' basketball tournament, the Wethersfield Flying Geese hit some late-season turbulence.

But while three road losses to LTC rivals Galva and Stark County — which led to the Wildcats repeating as regular-season conference champions — and then to Orion may have caused a stir among some Wethersfield followers, head coach Jeff Parsons knew better.

"I didn't put a lot of stock in those losses," said Parsons. "We had to play at three tough places, and in those games, we played good defense; we just didn't shoot the ball or shoot free throws well. Doing well at one thing and not the other, it can cost you, and we lost those three games by a total of 10 points."

Evidently, that stretch of bumpy sky only toughened up these Geese as their current flight pattern has them back in the Class 1A sectionals for the first time in five years. Wethersfield (25-6) takes on Mendon Unity (19-11) Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Mount Sterling at the Brown County Sectional.

"The guys thought I was going to run the heck out of them and yell at them (after those close losses), but I just told them we've got to tighten the lugnuts a little bit, spend more time working on shooting and free throws and keeping our focus on defense," said Parsons, who has not had a sub-.500 season in 10 years as the Geese's head coach.

"I feel like we're back on track, even though we still didn't shoot all that well last week (at the ROWVA Regional). We were able to score in the 50s and 60s, whereas before we were scoring in the 30s and 40s."

But as he said, Parsons doesn't want to lose the defensive edge Wethersfield has maintained throughout the season.

"I've coached a lot of years, and when you get into the postseason, it's about defense and rebounding, making sure every team is one and done," he said. "Some nights the shots fall; other nights they don't fall. You have to make sure defense and rebounding are stellar every night, especially in the postseason."

While junior guard Trevor Lay's 21.5 points per game sparks the Geese attack, the duo of senior forwards Kegan Jacobson and Trey Hannam lend bulk to both the defensive and rebounding categories; Jacobson's eight boards per night are a team high.

And if Wethersfield can contain Unity's 6-foot-5 junior post standout Lane Davis and move on to Friday's Sweet 16 contest, Parsons feels that the chances are good for his Geese flying to their first sectional crown since Wally Keller's 1978-79 team went 29-1 and reached the Class A super-sectionals.

"We feel like this sectional is wide-open, that it's anybody's tourney down there," he stated. "It's been awhile since a Wethersfield team advanced to the Sweet 16, and we'd like to be the one that does that. We're looking forward to going down there and trying to make our mark."