Wilmoth scored 24 points, hauled down 11 rebounds and provided a spark as PH earned a 50-44 non-district victory over John Battle on Wednesday.
It was the ninth straight victory for Patrick Henry (10-3) and set up Friday’s Hogoheegee District showdown with Chilhowie. Not before the second tense game in as many nights for Wilmoth and her teammates.
PH survived for a 48-43 road win over George Wythe on Tuesday as Wilmoth pumped in 25 points.
On Wednesday, the Rebels were tied at the half with upset-minded John Battle.
“Last night we started off like that too,” Wilmoth said. “We just weren’t in sync. The second half we came around and pulled it together.”
Patrick Henry ripped off a 20-2 run to begin the second half, opening up a 44-26 lead with 6:45 remaining.
“I think we tried to get it in [the post] more and we were cutting and being more active,” Wilmoth said.
Battle (5-8) still managed to cut into that margin and pulled within four points late.
“Last night we had a lead and it kind of vanished at the end. Tonight we had a lead at the end and it vanished,” said Patrick Henry coach Tommy Thomas. “[The win over George Wythe] was a lot about what we didn’t do. Tonight it was just turnovers. … We’re still making a lot of silly mistakes. When we have a lead we don’t play like we have a lead. It’s good and bad. They never decide to pull it out, but they’re always looking inside, looking for somebody cutting to the goal. It’s great, but sometimes we don’t need to do that.”
Junior point guard Kasey Uecker recorded nine points and 10 assists, while freshman Morgan Yarber contributed 10 points for the Rebels. After losing post players Kelsey Weddle and Katie Haynes to graduation, Yarber has helped fill a void in the paint.
“She’s doing great,” Wilmoth said. “After we lost Kelsey and Katie, she’s really stepped up and she’s done really well as a freshman.”
Speaking of newcomers, Battle’s roster is full of them. The Trojans relied on six seniors in winning the Region D, Division 2 title a year ago.
The current roster includes five freshmen and four sophomores.
“These girls are young, but they work extremely hard,” said Battle coach Kevin Perrigan. “This is probably the hardest-working team I’ve ever had. … I think down the road this is going to be a tough team. I don’t think people should overlook us.”
Brooke Rutherford (15 points), Chloe Harris (13 points) and Megan Fisher (10 points) were the leaders for Battle.
Perrigan was probably glad to see the last of Wilmoth. The versatile senior played a starring role as PH beat Battle in last year’s state quarterfinals.
She gave the Trojans more headaches Wednesday.
“We had a good gameplan,” Perrigan said. “We were trying to stack up the paint and keep Wilmoth from getting the ball. The first half we did a pretty good job of it. We came out in the third quarter and [Thomas] kind of spread us out. I think the youth got in our head and we spread out with them and that opened up the cutting lanes and passing lanes.”
Wilmoth took advantage.