Monticello — Western’s boys basketball team began its bid for a third straight sectional championship with a 66-52 victory over Peru on Wednesday night in the first round of the Class 3A Twin Lakes Sectional.
Western (13-8) advances to face West Lafayette (17-5) in the second semifinal game Friday. West Lafayette beat Northwestern 46-27 in Wednesday’s nightcap.
Peru beat Western 57-53 in Mid-Indiana Conference play, but the Panthers controlled the rematch.
Western and Peru (10-11) traded the lead in the first four minutes of Wednesday’s game. Peru held the last of its four leads at 8-6 with 3:35 left in the first quarter on a Seth Adelsperger jumper.
Western’s Evan Warden took over from there, hitting on a three-point play to put Western up 9-8. After a Ronnie Smith basket, Warden hit two 3-pointers, helping Western close the quarter with a 17-10 lead.
“We played well,” Western coach Bart Miller said. “We were disappointed with that loss to them [in MIC play]. We came out ready to go right from the get go, and jumping out to a 17-10 lead at the end of the first quarter really help propel us.”
Peru coach Jim Metcalfe also thought the end of the first quarter was a key stretch of the game.
“Western shot the ball extremely well,” Metcalfe said. “The first time we played them, Western was 7 of 29 from [3-point range], and Warden got going [Wednesday] ending up with 26 points. It was the difference. They shot the ball well, and we had a few careless mistakes here and there. The kids kept fighting and playing hard. We just weren’t good enough. I am proud of the kids and the effort that they put in [the game].”
Western extended its lead in the second quarter, taking a 30-16 advantage into halftime. Western shot 5 for 9 from 3-land in the first half.