TOPEKA — One area team advanced; one is done.
LaVille succumbed late to host Westview in a back-and-forth opener, while Bremen jumped off to a fast start and held off a tenacious Prairie Heights squad in the late quarterfinal at Class 2A Sectional 35 Tuesday.
PRAIRIE HEIGHTS 48
The Lions got off to a slow start in their regular-season closer last Friday, and Culver punished them for it.
They hit the floor determined not to make the same mistake in their sectional opener Tuesday, jumping out to a 17-6 lead at the first quarter break and never trailing after the five-minute mark of the first frame in a 51-48 defeat of defending sectional champion Prairie Heights.
Bremen advances to play Fremont — which drew a bye at the six-team tilt — Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“The guys were ready to play from the get-go,” said Bremen head coach Ryan Eakins. “We knew that in games where we have struggled out of the get-go this year, we’ve struggled offensively. So it was really important for us to get a stop, get down and get a couple buckets to get up early. We got up a little bit, and the second half I thought it was really important that even though they got on a couple runs they didn’t tie the game, which was a big momentum thing. We kept the lead the whole time, and that was huge for us down the stretch.”
Bremen led by as much as 16 at 26-10 at the 3:56 stop of the second quarter, and the Lions needed every bit of that lead as the Panthers pushed them down the stretch.
Prairie Heights’ fullcourt press flustered Bremen into five of its 15 total turnovers in the final period, including three straight for back-to-back-to-back transition layups that cut the Lions’ lead to 42-40 with 2:46 remaining. But a Jacob Box steal for a traditional 3-point play stretched that advantage back to 46-40 after Ethan Pike converted on the front end of a one-and-one. Box dished Austin Huff a no-look assist for another and-one with 23 seconds on the clock to maintain Bremen a comfortable 51-45 lead, and the Lions held off stubborn Prairie Heights.
“It would have been very easy for us to be down 16 and pack it in, but I thought we kept fighting,” said Prairie Heights coach Brett Eltzroth. “We kept telling them ‘One possession at a time; you’re not going to get a 12-point play.’ You have to take it one possession at a time, and I thought we did that. We made it tough on them there, they just out-executed us.”
While Pike led the Lions with 18 points, six rebounds, a pair of steals and an assist, Huff finished with 16 points, six rebounds and two steals of his own. The senior forward put up six of his points in the final frame and his diving save of a near turnover at the halfcourt and subsequent layup on a Pike assist with 5:33 left in the game pushed Bremen’s lead to 38-32.
“There were three plays down the stretch that really stick out in my mind,” said Eakins. “The biggest one, we were just talking about it, I thought was Huff’s dive on the floor, tipping it to T.J. (Bayer), and he was able to make a play in transition and we go up instead of them cutting into the lead again. He was huge in the whole fourth quarter. Box’s three-point play was big, Ben (Hueni) had a nice steal and found he found (Mitch) Huppert in transition. Those three plays really stick out in my mind with Huff’s being the biggest on that hustle play.”
Prairie Heights was led by a game-high 27 points from Jacob Heller and 12 points from Kyler West as the defending champs closed their season at 5-18.
The Lions advance to play Fremont in the late semifinal Friday.
“Fremont is an outstanding team. They have possibly the third best player we’ve seen all year,” said Eakins. “He can score, he can pass, he can rebound, he can defend. He is an absolute monster, and they can shoot the ball all over the floor. We are going to have to do an outstanding job on the defensive end of helping each other, cutting off Jacob Bryant’s penetration and keeping him off the glass. And we’re going to have to find a way to beat a zone because that’s probably what they’re going to bring at us on Friday night.”
• CLASS 2A SECTIONAL 35
BREMEN 51, PRAIRIE HEIGHTS 48
Score by quarters
Bremen: 17 28 35 51
Prairie Heights: 6 16 27 48
BREMEN (51): Ben Hueni 2, T.J. Bayer 1, Ethan Pike 18, Jacob Box 7, Tim Zimmer 2, Austin Huff 16, Dillon Mullen 0, Mitch Huppert 5; Totals: 18 13-19 51.
PRAIRIE HEIGHTS (48): Ryan Day 2, Kyler West 12, Landon Wohlers 0, Jacob Heller 27, Tyler Carbone 2, Woody Riha 0, Zach Shepherd 0, Dylan Stayner 5, Tom Beiswanger 0; Totals: 19 7-11 48.
3-pointers: Bremen 2 (Pike 2), Prairie Heights 3 (Heller 2, West); Turnovers: Bremen 15, Prairie Heights 16; Rebounds: Bremen 25 (Huff 6, Pike 6), Prairie Heights 21 (Heller 4, Carbone 4); Steals: Bremen 9 (Pike 3), Prairie Heights 9 (West 3); Assists: Bremen 11 (Bayer 4), Prairie Heights 5 (Riha 2); Fouls (fouled out): Bremen 14 (none), Prairie Heights 15 (none).
Records: Bremen 7-14, Prairie Heights 5-18 (final)
LaVille and Westview swapped leads 10 times and the two squads were locked in ties three different times, but Westview outlasted the Lancers, knocking down 11 of 14 free throws in the final frame — the Warriors went 17 of 21 from the stripe for the night — to rally past LaVille for a nip-tuck, 63-56 win.
“That’s also who they get to the line, the key people they get there,” said LaVille head coach Michael Edison of Westview’s finish at the free throw line. “We were up three with about five, six minutes to go and had a couple possessions there we couldn’t get anything on it or they would miss a shot and maybe get an offensive rebound. It was frustrating, but the same respect, I wish them a lot of luck. Westview’s a quality team. They’re just classy people. A team like that, I like to see them go on.”
LaVille led by a tenuous 45-44 margin going into the final quarter after trailing most of the first half, and the Lancers stretched the advantage to 47-44 on a pair of layups by senior guard Jordyn Williams with six minutes on the clock.
But Westview went on a 12-4 tear, taking its final lead of the night on an alley-oop layup by Nic Raber off an inbounds pass from Brant Yoder with 3:42 remaining in the game.
“I’m proud of my guys. They battled hard, no quit in them, made some big shots, had some key opportunities down the stretch that we just didn’t connect on and they did,” said Edison. “It’s that pendulum, that pendulum can swing either way. I felt unhappy for the season to be over just because I love going to practice with these guys every day. I love being around them, an over-all good group of guys.”
Westview was led by 17 points apiece from Yoder and Raber as well as 14 points from Kyle Miller as the Warriors advanced to play Central Noble in the early semifinal Friday at 6 p.m.
LaVille saw similar balance as Williams finished with 15, Nick Amor put up 11, and Andrew Hostetler rained in five 3s en route to a game-high 18 points.
The Lancers close their season at 15-6, their best finish since 1992. The Westview loss was LaVille’s first in 11 games as the Lancers capped off their regular season Friday with a 50-32 win at Jimtown to tie with Triton for a piece of the Northern State Conference crown and earn a program-record 10th straight win.
The team bids goodbye to Williams, Justin Baker and Jason Duerring.
“Two of those guys, Justin Baker and Jordyn Williams, I was with four years,” Edison said. “They’ve kind of been through it all. Everything from having one of our assistant coaches die of cancer a couple years ago, to kind of being a laughing stock where everybody wants to play you. From being an easy win to just battling through and getting better. The last few games we’ve had, we’ve had away games and we’ve had fans. People come and have wanted to watch these guys compete. That’s a lot of credit to our seniors, Jordyn and Justin and Jason Duerring. They’re just a good group of guys.”
• CLASS 2A SECTIONAL 35
WESTVIEW 63, LaVILLE 56
Score by quarters
LaVille: 9 24 45 56
Westview: 15 26 44 63
LaVILLE (56): Andrew Hostetler 18, Jordyn Williams 15, Nick Amor 11, Blake Berger 5, Justin Baker 4, Jason Duerring 3, Landon Manuel 0, Jeff Haygood 0; Totals: 18 11-14 56.
WESTVIEW (63): Brant Yoder 17, Nic Raber 17, Kyle Miller 14, Adrian Brandenberger 7, Jordyn Bontrager 4, Devin Aspy 2, Nate Raber 2, Judah Zickafoose 0, Jerry Schwartz 0, Spencer Hess 0; Totals: 22 17-21 63.
3-pointers: LaVille 9 (Hostetler 5, Amor 2, Berger, Duerring), Westview 2 (Yoder, Miller); Turnovers: LaVille 9, Westview 11; Rebounds: LaVille 14 (Amor 4), Westview 25 (Yoder 7); Steals: LaVille 4 (Williams 2), Westview 6 (Bontrager 2); Assists: LaVille 6 (Williams 2, Amor 2, Hostetler 2), Westview 7 (Yoder 4); Fouls (fouled out): LaVille 20 (none), Westview 16 (none).
Records: Westview 18-5, LaVille 15-6 (final)