Western’s boys basketball team used a balanced offensive attack and a determined defensive effort to whip sectional rival West Lafayette 57-32 Friday on the Red Devils’ court.
The Panthers took control early. It was 13-6 after the first quarter and 28-15 at halftime. After the Red Devils closed to within 10, 40-30, after the third quarter, the Panthers dominated the final stanza to win going away.
Kyle Sanders led the Panthers (5-4) with 15 points, Evan Kretz followed with 14 points, Nathaniel Liddell had 10 and Mitchell Dean had nine.
Kretz drilled four 3-pointers and Sanders hit three. Dean and Ian Thurston also connected from 3-land.
“Kretz had a big second half after early foul trouble,” Western coach Mike Lewis said. “Mitchell Dean played excellent off the bench offensively and defensively. He’s just starting to scratch the surface of what he’s going to be.”
Lewis also noted the play of Thurston, a sophomore guard who saw extended playing time in the absence of injured starter Dylan Bryant.
“Thurston was very solid on running the team,” Lewis said.
Defensively, Western held West Lafayette’s Braeden Shrewsberry to three points. The Red Devil sophomore had a school-record 42-point game against Crawfordsville earlier this season.
“Liddell and Mike Gaines did unbelievable job taking Shrewsberry away,” Lewis said.
Western beat West Lafayette 51-42 in last year’s Sectional 20 championship. That ended the Red Devils’ three-year sectional reign.
Western visits Logansport tonight.
H. HEIGHTS 69, NW 47
Hamilton Heights put the game out of reach quickly in the Hoosier Conference East Division opener for both teams. With hot shooting from guard Lucas Letsinger, Heights went up 22-6 after a quarter, then ended any doubt with a 12-0 run in the second quarter to make the score 35-9 with 4:37 left before halftime.
“First quarter, obviously we get outscored 22-6 and put ourselves in a deep hole against a good basketball team,” NW coach Jim Gish said. “Now all of the sudden some of the things you’d planned for offensively and defensively are kind of out the door because you’ve dug yourself a 16-point hole against a good basketball team. Now there’s a little more scramble involved, offensively a little more urgency — that cost us.”
Heights led 39-20 at the half and 59-35 after three quarters.
Letsinger connected on two triples to cap that second-quarter run en route to 21 points at the half. He finished with a game-high 31 points, a career high. Western Michigan recruit Gus Etchison added 17 points and Isaac Wilson scored eight for the 5-1 Huskies.
“The thing that they have is they have a lot of weapons,” Gish said. “Obviously with Gus being a Division 1 athlete, that’s where the focus goes, but they have other guys that easily could score in double figures. That just provides some challenges when you put that much focus on one kid.”
Letsinger hit eight 3-pointers, with at least one each quarter.
“I thought we did a good job getting the ball to Letsinger,” HH coach Chad Ballenger said. “Obviously, [the Tigers] did a really good job on defense, and we got Lucas enough shots. We’ve got four guys that can shoot, I think that was the difference. It wasn’t just about Gus. He got enough, but we had other guys step up.”
Northwestern (0-2) got an effective game inside from junior post Eli Edwards, who scored 14 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, and got a breakout game from sophomore guard Mario Reed. Reed scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds.
The Tigers host Clinton Central tonight.
CARROLL 60, DELPHI 49
The Cougars handled the Oracles to take Carroll County bragging rights and remain undefeated in the Hoosier Heartland Conference.
Jake Skinner scored 22 points to lead Carroll (8-1, 2-0 HHC) and Owen Duff backed him with 19 points. Jaden Harness chipped in eight points.
The Cougars have won seven in a row.
Luke Smock led Delphi (2-4, 1-2) with 19 points.
SHERIDAN 54, TC 44
Tri-Central fell on the road in HHC play.
Jake Chapman led the Trojans (2-5, 0-2 HHC) with 17 points and Mason Pickens had 10 points.
YORKTOWN 60, TIPTON 34
The Blue Devils held an 11-8 lead after the first quarter in the game at Yorktown. From there, the Tigers took over, outscoring the cold-shooting Devils 31-6 over the middle two quarters.
Tipton finished 14 of 50 (28%) from the field overall — and 1 of 20 (5%) from 3-point range.
Jayce Edwards led Tipton (2-6) with 10 points. Nate Powell had eight points. Sam Edwards grabbed six rebounds and Powell and Mylan Swan had five boards apiece.
KOKOMO 53, LOGAN 32
Kokomo pitched a 6-0 shutout in the first quarter and kept the lead the rest of the way in beating Logansport in the Berry Bowl. The Kats led 29-9 at halftime and 45-20 after the third quarter.
Chloe McClain led Kokomo (6-5, 3-2 NCC) with 20 points. Aijia Elliott had 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting, Maddie Butler had eight points and Sanighia Balantine had seven points.
Balantine grabbed 10 rebounds and Butler took seven boards. Brooke Hughes dished six assists and Kamaria White took four steals.