by Steve Peterson
The basketball offense made its best showing since the second game of the season, and Akron-Westerners had a chance to gain ground in the War Eagle Conference standings facing the team that was directly ahead of the Westerners.
Spalding Catholic, in its final game as an independent school playing at A-W, led 34-17 at halftime and cruised to a 65-45 win. The 45 points were 13 better than A-W’s average.
“We finally got over 40 points. But we had far too many turnovers, and we panicked against their rapping press. After we saw it, we recognized it and did a better job,” said A-W Coach Jon Harris.
Tavian Banks had 12 points to lead the Westerners, who were 0-11 overall, 0-7 in WEC games. Chance Hoffman had eight points and Kevin Carlson added six. Hoffman had 11 rebounds, Kyle Schroeder had 10 and Sanchez had five.
The Spartans were led by Michael Grady’s 16 points from their second-leading scorer for the season; Jared Steffes had 13 and leading scorer Ryan Stoll had 12.
A-W had a 6-4 deficit early in the first quarter on a Banks’ hoop. But the Spartans led 20-8 by the time the quarter ended.
The Westerners rallied to within five points twice, on a three-pointer by Banks and a Carlson hoop, for a 22-17 deficit. But the Spartans closed the first half on a 12-0 run to lead 34-17. The deficit grew beyond 20 points in the third quarter.
Spalding’s final visit
The folks from Granville Spalding Catholic were making their final appearance at the A-W gym before next year’s merger with Gehlen Catholic.
“It is clearly an emotional year. We have some really good, talented athletes. The sophomore and junior classes both boys and girls will fit really well at Gehlen, which is where most of them will go. We’re going to enjoy the heck out of this year,” said Spalding basketball coach Scott Willman, who handles both the girls’ and boys’ teams.