by Steve Peterson
On Feb. 11, West Sioux boys’ basketball team pulled away from Akron-Westfield in the second half and eliminated the Westerners from the Class 1A regional playoffs, with a 49-31 win.
A-W stayed with the Falcons for the first half as they were behind only 19-13 at halftime.
“I felt good about our defensive effort in the first half. But we had good looks but could not get them to fall,” said A-W Coach Jon Harris.
The Westerners close at a 2-20 overall record.
The Falcons gained their fifth win of the season, three victories over A-W, and moved with a 5-18 record to face powerful Boyden-Hull Feb. 14 in Hull. Update: West Sioux lost to Boyden Hull 57-22.
“We really played hard, harder than usual. We stepped it up a notch. The defense was terrific,” said West Sioux Coach Jerome Hoegh. “We just kept the defensive pressure up and that got some baskets for us.”
“It feels great. We’re playing our best ball at the right time. We know we have a tremendous opponent. Not a lot of people expect much but I expect our guys to compete,” said Hoegh. “We’ve played a couple of great teams this year, like Spirit Lake was a tremendous team.”
The rookie coach congratulated his players as they passed by and enjoyed a post-game meal.
Spirit was shown by both student sections at the start, although it was a “diehards only” battle with both teams combined for five wins.
After a 5-5 standoff for the first quarter, a 9-2 run by the Falcons opened the second quarter for a 14-7 lead. A-W steadied the ship behind a basket by Jacob Neubrand and free throws by Kyle Schroeder, Neubrand and Nathan Sanchez. A steal and fast-break led to a free throw by Porter Hummel for a 19-13 Falcons halftime lead.
The Falcons had an 11-4 run to start the third quarter and led 30-17 on a Hummel hoop. It was a 34-17 lead by the fourth quarter.
Hummel led the Falcons with 11 points. Justin Negaard had 10, and Lee Tapper had nine and an excellent game in rebounds, said Hough.
Sanchez and Caleb Colt led the Westerners with five points.
“It was the same story all year, as our leading scorer had eight points per game average. We just could not put the ball in the hole,” said Harris. “I told the kids they have to dedicate some time in the summer. I did see some development of some players over the year.”