GARY | West Side coach Murray Richards said that his team was starting to turn the corner in Thursday’s 57-56 loss to Munster.
Instead, it was Andrean righting the ship in an extremely gritty effort Tuesday night.
The 59ers got 16 points from Nick Podkul -- who scored Andrean’s first six points -- in a nail-biting 47-45 win over the Cougars on West Side's senior night.
"This is huge going into the tournament," 59ers coach Scott Hicko said. "West Side is a pretty good team. To be able to come to their court, play with them and win a close one means a lot for our confidence. We really needed a win like this."
While Podkul's efforts were certainly a huge key in the win and earned the praises of Hicko, Ben Davidson took a late charge, which proved to seal the game for the 59ers.
"Benny handles the ball down the clutch," Hicko said of Davdison, who had 10 points. "That (charge) was the game-saving play. He’ll stick his body out there in front of anyone for the team."
Ramon Guerrero stepped up big for the 59ers with 10 points, giving Andrean (9-7) some of its only penetration to the basket.
"Ramon brought the energy," Hicko said. "He’s a guy who brings the physicality for us. He’s struggled a little bit lately, but he absolutely broke out today and was the Ramon Guerrero that we need."
The Cougars (7-9) jumped out to a 6-0 lead and held Andrean scoreless for nearly the first four minutes of the game.
Marlon Northern, who spent some time on the bench due to first-half foul trouble, snagged five rebounds and scored six first-half points, while Tremain Grubbs was an offensive spark plug with seven points before the break.
Northern led the Cougars with 14 points in a strong effort in the post.