SYRACUSE – The stat sheets were nearly identical, it just became a matter of which team wanted it more. Tuesday night, Westview found just a little more in its gut to pull out a 58-52 boys basketball win at Wawasee in a battle of Warrior versus Warrior.
The Westview Whistler hadn’t even finished his rallying cry and the crimson Warriors were already up 3-0 when Josh Hostetler rattled home a trey just seven seconds in. Dan Byler then settled in and watched as the Warriors from greater Emma never trailed. But to say the game was a runaway wasn’t accurate as Wawasee pushed Westview through the final minute of the game.
Westview led by as much as eight in the fourth quarter, but would the score shrivel down to 47-45 and then 52-49 after Wawasee’s Trevon Coleman grabbed his own miss and banked in the putback. Elijah Hales would hit a pair of free throws to get Westview back up five and Charlie Yoder was on the wide open receiving end of an outlet pass to put the game on ice.
On a night where Wawasee hit eight more threes, outrebounded Westview 20-17 and missed only two free throws, it became a matter of tiny mistakes that made huge differences.
As the homesided Warriors held the ball for what it hoped was the last shot of the first half, it trailed Westview 23-18. Trying to get the ball to Bennett Hoffert for a three-point shot, Hoffert did take one but missed badly, and the rebound went to Westview with five seconds left. A quick outlet was pinballed to a wide open Hostetler for a layup at the buzzer. The five-point swing, to which Westview then got the ball back to open the second half, had the visiting Warriors open up a 31-20 lead out of the gate in the third.
“Them getting the bucket at the end of the first half and then getting the ball to start the second half was a killer,” Wawasee head coach Jon Everingham said. “Us maybe being down two or three, but we’re down seven, then 11, that is probably the difference in the game. That’s what we are trying to focus on in practice are those situational things, but it takes just one like tonight and those points just killed us.”
Wawasee (5-14) also had two occasions where trailing defenses gave up and-one opportunities when it had just grabbed momentum. After Coleman made a basket to get Wawasee within four at 38-34, the closest it had been since the first quarter, Hales immediately went to the other end and made the three-point play. When Jacob Hand made an and-one of his own with 1.8 seconds to get Wawasee back within four points again, Westview opened the fourth quarter with two straight baskets.
A Hand three-pointer, followed by a Westview turnover and subsequent three made by Ryan Edington got Wawasee to the 47-45 deficit, saw Cody Collyer return with an and-one on the other end on a sloppily guarded play by Wawasee.
Hales led Westview (13-6) with 16 points and seven assists and Collyer scored seven of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. Hostetler had 11 points and Yoder had 10 points.
Coleman, still getting his sea legs under him after suffering a knee injury in January, scored 21 points on 9-14 shooting. Hand wound up with 15 points and just one turnover in over 27 minutes of play from the guard position. Both aspects were of importance to Everingham.
“We are just at a point right now where we are playing very hard, but we can’t find something to get us over the hump,” said Everingham. “We got some good play out of other guys other than Trevon. Aaron Evans came in and hit a big shot for us, Ryan Edington hit a couple of threes. Jacob stepped up and scored some big buckets for us. And Trevon for the first time all season was a pass-first guy inside, and then also had his season high in points. That’s what we’re looking for.”
Wawasee’s JV won 42-33 to open the night against Westview.
Westview hosts Goshen Friday evening while Wawasee, just 1-14 in its last 15 games, hosts East Noble Saturday evening.