BOYS BASKETBALL: Pewamo-Westphalia powers on to the state finals, takes out MH PSA
EAST LANSING – With Pewamo-Westphalia in the middle of a dry spell in the fourth quarter, trying to close out Muskegon Heights PSA to advance to the Class C state championship game, the Pirates were in search of something that would help them down the stretch.
That help the Pirates had been looking for during the first four minutes of the fourth quarter came from Lane Simon, who drew a foul underneath while making a basket and gave Pewamo-Westphalia a seven point lead with 4:18 to go in the game as it held on for a 54-44 win to clinch a berth in the Class C state title game.
Pewamo-Westphalia (23-2) will face off with Detroit Consortium in the Class C state title game on Saturday afternoon, back at the Breslin Center at Michigan State.
Pewamo-Westphalia head coach Luke Pohl said that the and-one play from Simon was a big spark for his team going forward in the game and gave his team life when it was looking to try and run out the clock.
“That was gigantic,” he said. “We probably started to feel like we could start to hold the ball, but we couldn’t do that against this type of team, we had to go at them. And once we got that plus-one, I think that kind of got us over the hump.”
After Simon’s basket, senior Evan Fedewa notched a basket of his own to push the Pewamo-Westphalia lead to 48-39, giving the Pirates more than enough breathing room down the stretch to close out the win.
Nick Spitzlety scored 22 points to lead the way in the win for the Pirates, while Simon added in 17 more in the win.
With Pewamo-Westphalia trailing by three entering the second half, the Pirates didn’t waste much time taking the lead and creating separation from Muskegon Heights as a 12-0 run turned a 31-30 lead into a commanding 43-30 lead for the Pirates late in the third.
Pohl said that his team came out of the half looking to grind and wear down Muskegon Heights down the stretch, which resulted in the Tigers taking some ill-advised shots down the stretch.
“These guys make the plays, and I told them at halftime that we have 16 minutes until we get to the final game,” he said. “We just came out and ground them (Muskegon Heights) into a difficult position, but again with our defense, we forced them to take poor shots… But we had trouble rebounding against these guys and we knew that (Eddrick Tornes) and (Aaron Snyder) were very good players.”
The Tigers managed to cut the Pirate lead down to single digits late in the third quarter, when Antonio Jones drilled a deep 3-pointer to cut the deficit down to 43-35 heading into the fourth quarter.
While Pewamo-Westphalia has overcome its fair share of tough opponents, including Flint Beecher and Muskegon Heights, during its playoff run, the Pirates will without a doubt see their toughest opponent yet on Saturday when it will take on one of the nation’s best players, Josh Jackson, and 24-2 Detroit Consortium.