Northwestern got nine points from guard Blaine Brutus, all on first-half treys, eight from point guard Jacob Wagner, and six from post battler Tyler Hudson. Keagan Downey had just four points, and none after the first quarter, but the Tiger center came up with big plays in the fourth quarter.
With Northwestern holding a 53-51 lead, Downey blocked a shot in the paint and came down with the rebound with 1:45 to play. Northwestern went to its delay game after that and forced Taylor to foul. Wagner hit one freebie, Taylor’s KeShawn Stabler missed a 3-pointer, and Downey grabbed his final rebound of the game. Ortmann hit two more free throws after that to put the game out of reach with :36 left.
“[Downey] and Graham and Logan Galbraith are really our only kids who have experience at the varsity level, and I thought that experience really showed for Keagan down the stretch, knowing what it would take to put our team in position to win,” Gish said.
Taylor held Northwestern to just three points in the third quarter to go into the fourth trailing 40-34. Dairian Stone and Stabler hit treys to cut the lead to two at 42-40 and shortly thereafter Stabler gave Taylor its first lead since the first quarter with a 3-ball from the left side for a 45-43 lead.
“I love the fact that my kids are so willing to just go to work,” Lewman said. “It’s one of those things where if we could have caught them in the third quarter instead of the fourth, we could have made another charge at them.”
Wheeler led Taylor (1-2, 0-1 MIC) with 11 points, Latrell Mitchell had 10, Stapler nine, Stone seven, and Jarrad Moore and Cole Schroeder six each.