Fenwick rides fast start; Westinghouse rallies
Updated: March 23, 2011 4:10PM
Fenwick has lost a lot of close games this season because it hasn't been able to put teams away early.
That wasn't the case Monday night.
The Friars put the pedal to the metal right from the start of their Class 4A Willowbrook Regional quarterfinal game with host Willowbrook, zooming out to a 22-9 lead after one quarter en route to a 68-40 victory.
Fenwick (14-11), which is seeded 11th at the York Sectional, will face No. 6 seed Morton in Wednesday's regional semifinals.
"That was our main focus coming into the game," Fenwick forward Samuel Ainsworth said of the quick start. "We wanted to jump out on them really quick, maintain the lead for the rest of the game and we were able to do that tonight, so it's a good team win."
The matchup with Willowbrook (1-25), which set a single-season school record for losses, appeared lopsided on paper, but the Friars were taking no chances. They scored the first eight points of the game and were up 24-9 early in the second quarter after Ainsworth hit two free throws.
"[Willowbrook] is a young team," Fenwick coach John Quinn said. "They play hard to the bitter end. They never gave up.
"[Slow starts have] been a problem all year. For whatever reason we have not been a consistent team in the first quarter and that's hurt us. In close games we're 2-7. We've lost six games on the last play or in the last minute of games."
That wasn't going to happen this time as Fenwick kept hustling, extending the lead to 39-17 at halftime as Ainsworth scored six of his 10 points in the second quarter. The 6-4 junior, who pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds, demonstrated his team's desire by stumbling seven rows into the bleachers in the final seconds of the first half in a failed attempt to keep a loose ball in play even though his team was up by 22.
"[In the] playoffs, that's what it's all about, so I made a conscious effort to step that part of my game up a little bit," Ainsworth said.
"He's a hustle player," Quinn said. "Today we played with a real bounce in our step and a little drive. You've got to sustain that."
The Friars did, maintaining at least a 22-point cushion in the second half despite clearing their bench. Twelve players scored for Fenwick, which made 25 of 47 shots (53.2 percent), including 12 of 17 after intermission.
Timothy Gancer paced the Friars with 15 points, five rebounds and four steals, while Tyler Sewall scored 12 points and Dylan Barnett added seven points and three assists. Luke Lattner led the reserves with five points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
"It starts with the defense, the good rebounding," Ainsworth said. "We were unselfish with the basketball and we get good results when we do that."
Tyler Little scored 15 points, including three three-pointers, and Ryan Rader had 13 points and seven rebounds for Willowbrook, which started three juniors and two sophomores.
Fenwick has not played Morton this season but the game could go either way.
"We're evenly matched with them," Ainsworth said. "We've just got to play our best, hustle like we've been doing and see what happens."
Westinghouse 70, Addison Trail 57: Westinghouse's players had never played in a state playoff game before, but that didn't mean they were going to panic in crunch time.
The Warriors, who have an all-sophomore roster and are playing just
their second season since their school re-opened, showed impressive cool in rallying from a 15-point deficit against Addison Trail for a win in the regional quarterfinals.
Westinghouse scored the final 21 points of the game to beat the
Blazers and advance to Wednesday's regional semifinal against Farragut.
"The first half everybody was just on a different page,"
Westinghouse guard Ricky Battles said. "Second half the coach talked to us and we got everything together and got the win. We just listened to what the coach told us - play defense, play team ball - and it adds up at the end."
Westinghouse (13-5), seeded 14th at the York Sectional, led 18-8
early in the second quarter but found themselves trailing 29-25 at halftime. The 19th-seeded Blazers (8-18) increased their lead to 48-33 on a back-door layup by Adam Hallick at the 3:03 mark of the third quarter.
The Warriors responded with a 10-0 run to get back in the game.
Jihad Muhammad got it started with a three-point play and then Battles, a reserve, scored the next six.
Battles tallied 22 of his game-high 24 points in the second half, 14 of which came in the fourth quarter as Westinghouse outscored Addison Trail 26-6. Battles sank 6 of 8 shots from the floor and 12 of 15 from the free-throw line, including his final eight foul shots.
"Like Ricky said, we were too much individuals the first half and
then we started playing team ball," Westinghouse coach Garland Williams said. "We told the kids we've just got to get it back one possession at a time. We know how to play. We had been down before and we came back."
Addison's Mike Gontarek, who tallied 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting,
scored on a layup to make it 57-49 with 6:13 left in the fourth quarter, but the Blazers did not score again as Gontarek fouled out shortly after.
Battles scored the next six points before Westinghouse tied it at 57 on a putback by center Darrell Grant. Two free throws by Muhammad put the Warriors ahead to stay with 4:49 remaining. They sank 9-of-14 free throws after that and finished 25-of-37 from the line overall, including a 24-of-32 effort in the second half.
"It's unbelievable," Battles said of winning a postseason game for
the first time. "Everybody talked about waiting until our junior and senior year, but we want to start right now."
Muhammad had 14 points and four steals for the Warriors, while
Quintin Crump added 12 points and three assists, Dewan White contributed eight points, nine rebounds and three steals and Grant chipped in eight points and seven rebounds.
Armin Trgo led Addison Trail with 15 points and seven steals but was limited to two points after intermission. Hallick added 11 points and freshman guard James Pupillo had nine points, three steals and three assists.