By Mike Deak
SYRACUSE – CPG-TV anaylst Roger Brady referred to the pace to which Westview built a 60-51 win over Wawasee as a “slow drip”. It was a perfect paint to broadbrush what was otherwise a lackluster night of boys hoops at the Hardwood Teepee.
Nothing about Westview’s approach to the game was flashy. Solid, fundamental passing, textbook backdoor screens, rebounding, timely shooting. When Westview needed a play made, it got one.
Westview never trailed in the game, and only were threatened twice. In the first half, Keaton Dukes made his NBA Jam cameo, heating up to score Wawasee’s first 15 points as the host Warriors pulled within three at 18-15. But Westview would respond with a quick 7-0 run before Ethan Carey became the second Wawasee scorer, hitting a three. A Brady Yoder three right before the horn, however, gave Westview a 28-20 at the break.
“I made a mistake on a call at the end of the second quarter that cost us three points,” Wawasee head coach Jon Everingham said. “Going zone, it was a bad call on my part. That cost us, and we lost (Yoder) a couple times. Other than that, when you want to win basketball games against good teams, it’s hard. The margin is so slim when you make four or five mistakes in a game like this, you give credit to Westview for taking advantage of those mistakes.”
The visiting Warriors would get their lead to as much as 18 at 48-30, but Wawasee would mount a comeback, fueled by an and-one by Dukes and two threes by Caden Welty and Kameron Salazar to get within nine. Another Dukes three later in the fourth made it 54-47, the closest Wawasee (8-11) would be in the second half.
Yoder would go to the other end and hit a pair of free throws to put Westview (15-4) up nine as the cup began to overfloweth.
“We did make them feel uncomfortable,” Everingham said. “We had some possessions that were almost steals. The ball got tipped around and they were really uncomfortable. Against a good team like Westview that has 15 wins on the season, you can see that we’ve made progress in that area. That was the idea, we needed something extra. If it costs us a game here and there, which I didn’t think it did tonight, it shows we are actually getting better than expected in those areas.”
Yoder was efficient, going 8-15 from the floor and 4-4 from the free throw line to notch 25 points. He also had six rebounds and a pair of assists. Luke Miller and Mason Yoder avoided early foul trouble to both finish with 10 points.
Dukes didn’t make the Hardwood Teepee into a Rumble Court, but he was on fire all night. Dukes finished with a career-high 34 points, going 13-24 from the floor and hitting all six of his free throws. Dukes added four rebounds and two steals. But on a night when Dukes was electric, Wawasee’s remainder was just 6-23 from the floor. Welty had two three-pointers and was next on the chart with six points and four assists.
Jay Finlinson had 19 points, but Wawasee couldn’t catch Westview in a 62-43 JV result. Carson Smith had nine points and seven rebounds in the loss. Braden Eash led Westview with 18 points and Brady Lehman added 12 points and nine boards.