by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
WILLIAMSPORT — A strong finish Saturday night propelled Westfall to a 61-49 win over Unioto.
It was the first Scioto Valley Conference loss for the Shermans (8-4, 5-1).
“Unioto is the big dog in our league and that’s something that our kids look forward to every year is playing Unioto,” Westfall coach Christian Meister said. “Our kids finally executed the game plan the way we thought that they could tonight.
“We always play hard, but sometimes we don’t go get the ball off the backboard and, tonight, I thought the best thing we did was offensive and defensive rebounding.”
After falling behind 16-12 after the first quarter, Westfall turned it around to lead 25-21 at the half. Forcing the Shermans into nine first-half turnovers helped the Mustangs hold the lead.
“We’re blessed with four or five guards who are able to pressure the basketball,” Meister said.
The Shermans fought back to tie the game midway through the third quarter at 32-32, but the Mustangs started to take control and led 41-32 entering the final quarter.
Westfall could have made the fourth quarter a little easier on itself but hit only one of the first seven free throws the team took. In the closing moments though, the Mustangs sunk eight of 10.
Casey Cline led the Mustangs with 20 points, Trevor Wolfe had 17 and Tyler Shipley had 16.
“When you play Unioto – with how big and strong and physical they are – the mistakes I made early in my time here was trying to match their size, and we were never going to do that. Our game plan is have them adjust to us,” Meister said.
Even with Unioto’s size advantage, the Mustangs had an early advantage on the boards and the Shermans ended the night with only a 24-22 edge.
“Trevor Wolfe is a guard, he’s a wing, he’s a mega athlete, he can go get the ball off the glass,” Meister said. “He played hurt until the Logan Elm game. If you go back and look at the stats, he’s been in double figures and almost double figure rebounds (since then) and that’s who we expected him to be. He sprained his ankle the night before the first game, never sat out and we never told anybody. He’s now healthy and that’s what we thought he would be before the year.”
After a couple early fouls limited his first-half playing time, Wolfe came through with 15 in the second half along with being a leader in rebounding.
DeSean Branson led Unioto with 19 points
“I think DeSean Branson is the best player in our league, so we tried to keep a fresh body on him and we tried to pressure the basketball,” Meister said. “Although Branson had 20 or 19, Tyler Shipley did a fantastic job on him.”
The Mustangs (7-4, 4-2) host Piketon Friday to wrap up the first half of the SVC schedule and want to keep the momentum from Saturday going.
“I want to compete in the SVC. We’re not here for moral victories or happy to be in third, we’re going to try to win this thing,” Meister said. “I know we’re extremely undersized and it’s a tough uphill battle. We’re maturing, we’re getting older and we’ve just got to continue play with confidence moving forward.”
Westfall 61, Unioto 49
Unioto — Braxton Platt 1-0-3, Newton Hoops 3-0-8, DeSean Branson8-1-19, Blake Hoops 3-5-11, Ben Spetnagel 1-0-3, Evan Park 1-0-2, Jordan Perkins 1-1-3. Three-point goals — Platt, Hoops (2), Branson (2), Spetnagel. Total — 18-7-49.
Westfall — Casey Cline 7-2-20, Trevor Wolfe 5-6-17, Ashton Nunemaker 0-4-4, Tyler Shipley 6-1-16, Seth Gifford 2-0-4. Three-point goals — Cline (4), Wolfe, Shipley (3). Total — 20-13-61.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Unioto 16 5 11 17 49
Westfall 12 13 16 20 61