When all was said and done, the Danville Warriors wrestling team came out with the short end of the stick Wednesday night. The visiting Warriors were unable to overcome a tough Zionsville team, losing 34-30.
Danville won six of eight matches on the night, but it was the couple that got away that made the difference between victory and defeat.
“We’re past the point of moral victories,” Danville coach Steve Pugliese said. “We did not count on losing between 126 to 138. The hardest part is learning how to finish and we talk about it every day and we didn’t do it tonight.”
Danville was leading in both its 126- and 132-pound matches but let the bouts slip away.
Zach Skinner (126) put up a tough fight against Zionsville sophomore Matt Kern, leading the match after the first period, but Kern scored a reversal and back points after tying it up at 4-4 and went on to an 8-6 victory.
Isaiah Scherrer (132) took on Kern’s twin brother, Sam, in the ensuing match and jumped out to a 4-1 advantage. But like Skinner, Scherrer faltered in the third period, giving up an escape and takedown and took a one-point, 5-4 defeat.
At 138, senior Jordan Shearin wrestled a tough match against Zionsville freshman Tyler Glenn and also came up a point short with a 4-3 loss.
Other matches came down to an extra point either way and the Warriors made up a little ground on the Eagles.
“I’m a little disappointed in that aspect,” Pugliese said. “We have to wrestle six minutes hard. We go hard but we’ve got to be more efficient with what we’re doing. They wrestled hard and I have no complaints with that.”
Zionsville’s Jacob Aven (220) scored a takedown with time expiring on Chris Peterson and took a 12-5 decison to win by major decision, earning the Eagles an extra point.
Danville freshman Nick Dailey (106) wrestled very well, winning by decision, 11-3. But if Dailey could have picked up one more point, it would have become a major decision and an extra team point.
However, the Warriors did wrestle well overall and there were a fair share of winners, including some of whom Pugliese was very pleased about.
Autry Pickens started the night with a second period pin of Zionsville’s Joe Einterz after building a 13-3 lead.
“The way Autry went out there, it was probably the best match he’s wrestled in his three years in the program,” Pugliese said. “We talk every day about how he needs to go harder and be relentless and that’s the first time he’s wrestled like that.”
Other winners for the Warriors were Mike Williams (285), Elliott Molloy (113), Neal Molloy (145), and Brayden Montgomery (152).
Danville takes on Lebanon next week before heading into the Hendricks County tournament Dec. 15. While very close the past few years, Danville has not been able to overcome county stalwart Avon. The Orioles have taken eight consecutive titles.
“Won the sectional (last season) but even little brother gets lucky now and then,” Pugliese said laughing. “I don’t know if we’re still little brother or not, but I think we’ve got the group this year that we can do it from start to finish. That depends on a lot of guys getting healthy and having everyone back in the lineup.
“We will be ready from a coaching standpoint and our kids will be ready to bring that trophy home this year for the first time in about 40 years. I’m looking forward to it.”