Bluejays bow out versus Westview at home tourney

NORTH JUDSON — Coming back from a double-digit deficit is difficult. Against a team as sound as Westview, it is nearly impossible.
Down 12 to Westview at halftime of Saturday’s Class 2A regional semifinal, North Judson-San Pierre couldn’t catch up. Aggressive in desperation, the host Bluejays racked up 25 fouls and were outscored 24-10 at the foul line in a season-ending 70-57 defeat.
“We were going up against a very disciplined team, obviously, and we knew that coming in,” North Judson coach Ryan Bales said. “One thing we felt like we couldn’t do was get down to them because they’re a tough team to come back against.”
Dominique Neely (19 points), Seth Wagler (17), Justin Jantzi (16) and Kurt Lambright (13) all scored in double figures for Westview (22-2). Neely had 15 of his game high in the first half, finished 6 of 7 from the field and 4 of 4 at the free throw line.
“I think we have a lot of good players,” Westview coach Rob Yoder said. “We just try to score as a group. Today (Neely) was open and his teammates did a good job finding him. He’s pretty good shooting the ball when he gets open.”
Kendall Hochstetler (14 points) and John Eckert (11) led North Judson offensively. The Bluejays made just one fewer field goal than Westview, but the free throw disparity was too much to overcome.
“We made a run, we didn’t quit and the kids kept playing hard, which is a tribute to the guys we have in the locker room,” Bales said.
In the first quarter, North Judson (22-2) shut down Jantzi, who averaged 29 points in Westview’s two sectional wins. Neely filled the offensive void, however, as the fellow senior had 10 points in pushing Westview to a 14-5 lead.
“He’s one of their big three players and did a great job stepping up for them,” Bales said. “He’s been around several years here and I’m looking forward to seeing him graduate.”
Six straight points by Hochstedler pulled North Judson within 25-18 late in the second quarter, but Westview scored the final five of the half for a 12-point advantage.
Westview’s lead hit 20 on a three-point play by Wagler midway through the third quarter. Hochstedler, Eckert, Andrew Frasure, Winston Yergler and Mitchell Fingerhut all scored during a 10-1 North Judson run to make it 44-33, but Westview took a 51-36 lead to the final period.
Westview was never threatened down the stretch, and led 70-49 before North Judson reeled off the final eight points with reserves manning the floor.
While the defeat was disappointing for North Judson, the Bluejays lose just Frasure and backup Clifton Dolezal, and will reload for another run next season.
“I know this is going to sting a little bit and will hopefully motivate us in the offseason,” Bales said. “Hopefully also they’ll have some time to reflect on a great season. Getting to play in a regional is always a heck of an accomplishment. We just ran into a great team that was playing great, but it shouldn’t take away from anything we’ve done this season. They have a lot to be proud of.”

At North Judson
Score by quarters
Westview: 14 16 21 19 — 70
North Judson: 5 13 18 21 — 57
WESTVIEW (70): Adam Castle 0 0-0 0, Jerry Schwartz 0 0-0 0, Judah Zickafoose 1 0-1 2, Brant Yoder 1 0-0 2, Adrian Brandenbe 0 0-0 0, Jordyn Bontrager 0 0-0 0, Dominique Neely 6 4-4 19, Seth Wagler 4 9-10 17, Kyle Miller 0 1-2 1, Kurt Lambright 6 1-2 13, Justin Jantzi 3 9-10 16. Totals: 21 24-29 70.
NORTH JUDSON (57): Wesley Derflinger 1 0-0 3, Dalton Bailey 1 1-1 3, Caston Sanchez 0 0-0 0, Kendall Hochstedler 5 2-5 14, Andrew Frasure 3 2-2 9, Winston Yergler 3 0-0 6, Mitchell Fingerhut 4 0-0 9, Clifton Dolezal 0 0-0 0, Dustin Knapp 0 0-0 0, Evan Howard 1 0-0 2, John Eckert 3 5-6 11. Totals: 21 10-14 57.
3-point goals: Westview 4 (Neely 3), North Judson 5 (Hochstedler 2); Fouls: Westview 18, North Judson 25; Records: Westview 22-2, North Judson 22-2.