CULVER | It took a quarter to warm up, but once Marquette got going Friday night it cruised to an 81-46 win over Westville and advanced to the Class A Culver Community sectional final.
The Blackhawks came out motivated and the Blazers struggled shooting early. Westville held a 16-11 lead after the first quarter.
"We knew we started slow, but we didn't get out of whack down 14-5,” Marquette coach Donovan Garletts said. “That first six or seven minutes of the game, we weren't moving the ball, weren't pushing the ball weren't rebounding.”
Then 6-foot-8 senior Jasmin Biberovikj entered the game, and the Hawks had no answer for his size. The Blazers (18-5) won the second frame 23-3, led by Biberovikj's 14 points and seven rebounds, and the rout was on.
"I always want to play on a high level," Biberovikj said. "When we were down, I rebounded the ball. I scored a lot but it's not about me it's about my team."
The Blackhawks (12-10) list no players taller than 6-4 on the roster. Biberovikj finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds while 6-8 sophomore Ryan Fazekas scored 20 and pulled down 16. Fazekas converted three field goals while being fouled, hitting the free throw each time.
"We were trying to beat them one-on-one a lot. You can't beat Marquette like that," Westville coach Rob Walker said. "They were able to just, effectively, keep getting the ball down low and we had a hard time matching that."
Marquette outrebounded the Hawks 55-24, in total.
"When Jasmin plays like a man, we ride on him," Garletts said. "He's our Clydesdale. He's strong, has size, is athletic."
Westville came into the contest riding an eight-game winning streak and having won nine of 10 after starting the season 3-8.
"I'm proud of our guys," Walker said. "The futures still bright for the Westville Blackhawks. I think we'll be okay."
The Blazers will take on Triton in tonight's championship. The Trojans got by host Culver Community 44-32 in the opening matchup.