RENSSELAER | Rensselaer senior guard Jake West had a simple answer when asked his team's record after the Bombers blew past Calumet 71-39 in the Class 3A Sectional opener Tuesday.
"We're 1-0 in the tournament," he said.
That's the mindset the host Bombers (6-15) have as they advanced to play Andrean on Friday. Knox outlasted Kankakee Valley 54-37 in a defensive battle in game two, and will play Hanover Central in Friday's second semifinal.
Rensselaer jumped to a 10-4 lead after one quarter and stretched it to 30-19 at halftime.
"That's what we had to do," said senior forward Tanner Odle, who finished with 15 points. "We had the mentality that we could beat them, but we didn't look past them."
The Bombers believed could take the ball inside and attack the basket against the Warriors (2-19).
"Inside-out was our game plan," said West, who finished with a team-high 17 points.
Rensselaer broke the game open in the latter stages of the third quarter and the early part of the fourth, taking a 55-28 advantage with 6 minutes and 51 seconds left.
"We ran a zone defense with me on the point and (Trent) Nagel in the middle," West said. "It was a soft zone with no trap. Usually, teams struggle if you're not trapping."
Calumet got a game-high 21 points from Joe Hymes, who hit five 3-pointers. The Warriors had closed to 28-19 late in the second quarter using a full-court press but couldn't sustain the momentum.
"The Andrean press is what we're going to be working on," West said.
In the second game, Knox used a 10-4 run to gain some separation from K.V. (5-16) and took a 35-27 lead and never looked back. The game was tied 15-15 at the half, and Knox led 25-23 with eight minutes left.
Dustin Ketelaar led the Kougars with 17 points, while Tyler Birky added seven.