Knights earn 37-30 dual meet win over Bucs

Central’s Hiram Lasher cradles Eric Bennett just moments before earning the pivotal pin in the meet’s 220-pound match. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

GEORGETOWN — The Sussex Central High wrestling team battled for a hard-fought dual meet win over Milford High, 37-30, Friday night to improve to 7-1 overall.

The Golden Knights used eight individual wins, including three pins and a forfeit, to defeat the defending Division II state champions and avenge last year’s 29-28 regular season loss to the Bucs (6-1).

Junior Hiram Lasher all but sealed the dual meet win by pinning Milford’s Eric Bennett in the 220-pound bout to put the Golden Knights ahead 37-16 with three matches remaining.

“He won the match for us. He showed up in a big way in a match that he was definitely the underdog in,” said Central coach Shane Miller. “We set up the game plan and we figured that’s who he was going to wrestle tonight. He followed the game plan and then he went for it in the end, that’s all you can ever ask from anybody.”

“My team needed it,” Lasher said. “I just had to do my best, get things done and just help the team out. Everybody was so happy.”

Lasher was just hoping for a decision in his bout, but instead he saw an opportunity and he took advantage of it to earn the pin with just 1:24 remaining in the third period.

“I got kind of lucky, but I knew I was going to get my win one way or the other if I had to,” he said. “He went for an ankle pick, and at the right time I dropped, his head was next to his knee and I cradled him.

“He’s a very good wrestler, and I give him much respect, but I got the best of him this time. He may get the best of me next time, that’s just how wrestling works.”

Sophomore Jevon Saffold and junior Jaden Savage earned the other two pins for the Golden Knights in the seven-point team win.

Central sophomore Mason Ankrom started the dual meet off with a 10-0 major decision win in the 120-pound match.

Saffold earned his pin over freshman Averi Copes with 57 seconds remaining in the third period of the 132-pound bout. It took Savage just 27 seconds to earn a win by pin in the 160-pound bout.

Savage’s quick pin of Milford’s Robert Marsh capped the Golden Knights’ 25-4 run to begin the meet, giving Central its fifth consecutive individual win of the night to take the 21-point lead through seven matches.

Milford sophomore Rafael Mejia tries to stand up his opponent in the 170-pound match. Mejia earned the third period pin.

Consecutive pins from sophomore Rafael Mejia (170) and junior Bevensky Augustin (182) put the Bucs right back in it, bringing the score to within 25-16.

Milford coach Don Parsley elected to give Central senior Michael Wright the six-point forfeit in the 195-pound match, setting Lasher up with the battle against Bennett in the 220 bout with a 31-16 Central lead.

The Bucs earned wins in the final three matches of the night, including a pair of pins from sophomore Corey Messick (106) and freshman Jack Thode (113), but it wasn’t quite enough to erase the early 21-point deficit.

Central’s Tyler Hudson locks onto Milford freshman Tim O’Hara’s leg during the 126-pound match. O’Hara earned a 10-0 major decision.

“A lot of guys showed up tonight, and a lot of guys fought hard. It was a good team win,” Miller said.

Sophomore Mason Ankrom (120) earned a major decision for Central, while sophomore Cole Jester (138), junior Brandon Greenlee (145) and senior Devin Pearsall (152) each earned decisions to round out Central’s eight individual wins.

Milford collected six individual wins, including four pins, a 10-0 major decision from freshman Tim O’Hara (126) and a 9-4 decision from Anthony Diaz (285).

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