The Wildcats rode that momentum through the first half, where they led the Roughriders by a point, 28-27, after the first 16 minutes. But the lead didn't hold long though, as the Roughriders (8-2, 5-2) breezed to a 79-41 victory after a convincing second half.
"They just outworked usd in the first half," Western Reserve coach Chris Sheldon said. "They had nine offensive rebounds, won every loose ball and we were a step slow in every rotation — that is solely comes down to how much do you want it, where your heart is and what's your mindset.
"Then we went into the locker room, sat in a circle and sang a little Kumbaya and we figured out if we wanted to play basketball tonight or not," he added. "They responded and it was big for us. They faced a little adversity and came through it with a win.
John Skrada started the second half scoring with a lay up that led to an avalanche of 33 points scored by Western Reserve in the third quarter.
The Roughriders followed that up with a 19-2 fourth quarter advantage as they seemed to take the fight away from the Wildcats (4-8, 3-4).
"I think we did some nice things tonight, so it isn't something that we just want to throw out and move on from," New London coach Dane Held said. "We did a really good job of working hard out there especially in the first half — I thought we worked harder than they did.
"But the thing is with a team like Western Reserve that can shoot like they can, you have to always challenge them," he added. "Even when you got hands in there face they can shoot it. They got hot tonight and I think we may have stopped playing as hard. We aren't as talented as a lot of teams at this point with just one returning letter winner, so we have to out work everyone if we want to win."
Leading scorer Luke Rowlinson again paced the 'Riders with 17 points, while Jude Muenz had 16 and Skrada scored 15. Luke Wyers was a fourth player in double figures with 13 points.
For New London, Grant Heileman scored 16 points. The 'Cats host South Central next Thursday, while Western has a big non-league matchup with Huron on Saturday in Collins.
WESTERN RESERVE (7-2, 4-2)
Nate Perkins 1-1—3, JJ Weisenberger 2-0—6, John Skrada 5-2—15, Jude Muenz 6-2—16, Matt Jarrett 1-0—2, Cam Hankins 1-0—3, Tate Drennen 2-0—4, Luke Rowlinson 8-0—17, Luke Wyers 6-0—13. TOTALS 32-5—79.
NEW LONDON (4-8, 3-4)
Parker Ruble 3-0—6, Logan Girton 3-0—6, Isaac Popa 2-0—4, Grant Heileman 6-4—16, Vincent Maletz 1-0-2, Jamil Arnold 1-3-5. TOTALS 17-7—41.
W. Reserve 14 13 33 19 — 79
New London 16 12 11 2 — 41
3 point FGs (WR) Skrada 3, Weisenberger 2, Muenz 2, Hawkins, Rowlinson, Wyers.
JV: Western Reserve, 43-31.