West Holmes Boys Basketball

Chance Wells delivers an arrow that pierces the hearts of the Arrows

Chance Wells sinks a game-winner

This close to Valentine’s Day, it is common to see arrows being shot by Cupid. However, it wasn’t cupid but rather Chance Wells who fired the arrow that pierced the hearts of the Ashland Arrows.

Say this for Keith Troyer’s West Holmes Knights: They know when to hold a lead.

In their Friday, Feb. 16 Ohio Cardinal Conference contest with Ashland, the Knights trailed the Ashland Arrows from the opening score until there was just 16 ticks left on the clock. But in dramatic fashion, Chance Wells threw in a 3-pointer from somewhere around the 30 yard-line on the Knights Stadium football field, and West Holmes had a final defensive stand in them that allowed them to pull out a 41-40 victory.

In essence the Arrows led the game for 31:44 while the Knights held the lead for 16 seconds. Basketball can be cruel that way.

“We definitely put an effort out there that was good enough to win,” Ashland head coach Jason Hess said. “I’m proud of our effort. The kids played hard, and we were right there. But it’s about learning how to win basketball games. We did everything we needed to do, but we didn’t close the door down the stretch.”

Nathan Mohney and Garrett Denbow provided Ashland with a push in the first half. The Arrows turned a 2-2 tie into a 13-2 lead that put the Knights in an early hole. After that the rest of the half was an effort in futility for both teams. West Holmes struggled to get anything going while the Arrows could have taken that opportunity to pull away. Instead, the game stagnated and Ashland took an eight-point lead into the half.

“With our defensive effort and the way West Holmes was shooting, we definitely could have been up 12 or 15 points,” Hess said. “Instead, it’s single digits.”

While the Arrows would eventually push the lead to double digits in the second half, led by Manny Langston, the Knights started to gather some steam from seniors Bryce Myers and Ethan Kinsey. Spurred by a very patient approach, West Holmes began systematically chipping away at the deficit.

Chase Wells started finding Shane Jones inside, and the game suddenly got very tight. West Holmes had several opportunities to tie or take the lead but couldn’t do it until late when Chase Wells found Myers for a game-tying and-one. After falling behind when Denbow made two free throws, the stage was set for the game-winning hoist by Chance Wells.

The eleventh-hour heroics allowed West Holmes to put the Wooster debacle in their prior game behind them as they work to build momentum late in the year.

“Anytime you win a game in the OCC it’s a big win,” Troyer said. “Ashland is a good team, but things aren’t going their way. They’ve got some nice players. And here at the end of the season, we are trying to get some momentum going into the tournament.”


The worst seat in the house

While the West Holmes faithful went into a frenzy as Chance Wells drove home the arrow that slayed the Arrows. There was one guy who had an awful view of that game-winning shot, and that was Chance Wells himself.

As Garrett Denbow came charging at him, Chance Wells let fly with a 3-pointer that was so deep that it left him right in front of head coach Keith Troyer on the West Holmes bench.

As Chance Wells released the shot, Denbow went crashing into him, sending him tumbling to the floor. Like Tom Brady watching a touchdown pass after getting hammered by a charging linebacker, Chance Wells had to try to watch the shot through a forest of bodies while sprawled out on the floor.

He didn’t have to see it to know that it went in. The roar of the crowd was all that was needed for anyone to know the end result.

“I saw it go in while I was sitting on the floor,” Chance Wells said.

The junior hit a game-winner last season against Mansfield Senior, but this one was from way downtown. The distance didn’t really factor into the decision to launch. “We string shoot a lot in practice, and I’m usually out by the volleyball line knocking them down, so it wasn’t anything unusual,” he said.

Chance Wells was struggling all night, hitting just one of his first six 3-point attempts. But like all good shooters, that doesn’t stop them from doing what they do best in crunch time.

“He’s a shooter, and shooters keep shooting,” Troyer said of Chance Wells. “We don’t want him to think about it, and you don’t make every shot, but you keep shooting.”

“I hadn’t hit a shot all game, but you can’t stop shooting,” Chance Wells said.

Patience is a virtue

After struggling mightily to put the ball in the bucket in the first half, an effort that led to a paltry 13-point first-half scoring drought, Troyer entered the locker room not in an angry mode, but instead he went to work imploring his team to be more patient on offense.

“We talked patience and not going one shot and a blast,” Troyer said. “We worked on getting the ball into the high post more, which opened up the perimeter. We threw the ball away a few times, but overall I thought we executed the offense really well in the second half. In the first half we missed a lot of shots, but they were quick shots. In the second half we made them play a little bit of defense and got open looks.”

There were some other large plays too

Yes, Chance Wells’ three-ball was the arrow to the heart of the Arrows, but that play barely overshadowed two plays that set up the opportunity.

Perhaps in the game’s prettiest, most exciting play, Knights teammates Chase Wells and Bryce Myers ignited the home crowd.

With the Knights trailing by three with under one minute to play, Chase Wells dipped between two defenders and went hard to the hole. As Myers’ defender went to help, Chase Wells deftly hit Myers, who went down the lane, laid in the shot and was fouled. He then made the ensuing free throw to get the Knights back to even.

“I thought that was the biggest play,” Troyer said. “The decision-making on that one was good.”

Myers, who let out a animalistic roar and a giant fist pump after delivering the bucket, said he knew it was a big play as the crowd reacted.

“It felt good to finally deliver because I was missing all of my shots in the first half,” said Myers, who led the team with 11 points. “To be able to get that bucket to go and the tying foul shot felt great. We kept fighting and clawing the whole game to get back into it, and we never gave up. After our Wooster loss, we needed a game like this to get us going again.”


Taking one for the team

While big shots like Chance Wells’ game-winner and the huge shot and free throw Myers made to tie the game off a scintillating assist from Chase Wells always grab headlines, sometimes the dirty work is the most important.

With the Arrows up by three with time winding down, Denbow went roaring down the lane as the Arrows had numbers in their favor on a fast break. Shane Jones calmly stepped into the lane, held his ground and took a charge, setting up the Chase Wells and Bryce Myers show moments later to forge a tie.

“That was big,” Troyer said of the defensive gem. “There were some big plays, but we didn’t play perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we had big plays when we needed them.”

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