CULVER | Rob Walker knew that Westville wasn’t going to have a cake walk through the first round of sectional play, regardless of how easily his squad handled South Central in the regular-season finale.
The Blackhawks opened up a close game with 12-0 run in the third quarter, giving Westville a 69-41 victory in the first round of the IHSAA Class A Culver Sectional.
Westville had defeated the Satellites 50-27 last Friday.
“I give a lot of credit to South Central as they were prepared and they didn’t show us much in our last meeting,” Walker said. “When you have one game left and it’s against your rivals, you want to come out and play strong.”
Westville will face Marquette in the semifinals on Friday night as the Blazers beat Oregon-Davis 89-41 in the nightcap. Valparaiso University-bound Clay Yeo will lead Triton against host Culver in the other semifinal.
The Satellites trailed by one after the first quarter and had cut a nine-point halftime deficit to 31-25 early in the third quarter when the Blackhawks (12-9) responded with a 12-0 run. Westville junior Shawn Gerron had five straight points during the run and finished with 11 points and six rebounds.
“Shawn is our leading scorer and if I could have one point guard, I’d want it to be someone who does what Shawn does on the floor,” Walker said. “He does what he needs to do to get the victory.”
Adam Clindaniel led the Satellites (3-16) with 14 points and 12 rebounds, but saw his high school career come to an end late in the fourth quarter when he was called for a personal foul and technical foul on the same play. Freshman Johnny Rosenbaum added 10 points and eight rebounds.
“We felt that if we could keep it close, then the pressure would be on them,” South Central coach Dan Warkentien said. “We cut it to six and I felt that it was the time and if we could’ve gotten it down to two or three points, maybe things would’ve turned out different.”
Not only did seven South Central seniors play their last game on Wednesday night, but Warkentien announced his retirement to the team after the game.
“I was going to retire last year, but these seniors talked to me and asked me to come back,” Warkentien said. “I’ve got kids that are disappointed in there and they think (this loss) is the worst thing that can happen to them. I told them that they’ll learn from this and this experience will help them later in life.”
JoVonte Peals had 19 points and 12 rebounds while Nathan Flores added 19 points and four assists to lead Marquette past the Bobcats (4-16). Ryan Fazekas scored 11 of his 17 points in the third quarter and the Blazers (17-5) never trailed after the opening moments of the game.
“We moved the ball as well as we have all year,” Marquette coach Donovan Garletts said. “We have to get by Westville before we can start thinking about Triton or Culver.”