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Northwestern Huskies High School Athletics

 

 
 

 

Northwestern Advances to Elite Eight

 

          Northwestern outscored Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas (44-36) in the second half and went on to beat the Knights (75-67) in the division three regional semi-finals Wednesday night at the Canton Memorial Fieldhouse.

          They play Cleveland Villa-Angela St. Joseph for a state tournament berth on Saturday night in Canton.

          In a first half of runs, St. Thomas Aquinas led (21-19) after the first quarter and the game was tied (31-31) at the half. 

          In the third quarter, the Huskies took the lead (42-40) on a 30 footer by point guard Parker Smith with 2:45 left in the quarter and went on to outscore the Knights (10-5) to close the quarter with a four point (49-45) advantage.

          They then began the final stanza with another run (10-6) run over the first 4:06 of the quarter to take a (59-51) lead and force a St. Thomas timeout.

          Coach Mark Alberts Jr. believes it was defense that turned the tide for the Huskies.  “I thought our defense the second half was much more active.  We went to a zone right at the end of the first half and I thought it looked good.  The second half I thought guys we much more engaged and we got to their shooters a little bit better.  They didn’t have Summers in the game and that definitely helped.  We only had to worry about a couple of guys on the floor instead of three.  I thought our guys did a better job rebounding the ball in the second half.  We made some really big hustle plays, which translated into some easy baskets for us,” said Alberts.

          Mason Wilhelmy converted a layup and two three pointers during a two minute span of the late third and early fourth quarter to give his team a spurt.  Alberts says once they were able to get some stops and some easier looks and then they started to relax a little more.  “I thought getting a few easy shots helped open up our perimeter and helped open up some things that maybe we weren’t doing early on.  I think the guys were more relaxed as the game went on,” he said.

          The Huskies built a nine point lead at (63-54) with 2:08 left on a hoop by Bowling Green recruit Derek Koch, but the Knights fought back and cut it just two (65-63) two free throws by Jaret Knox with 57 seconds remaining.

          Alberts says they made some mistakes, but they were able to make seven of eight free throws down stretch and get some big stops too.  “You know what?  We did some uncharacteristic things,” he told Swankonsports.com after the game, “We had a couple of bad shots.  We had a couple of dumb fouls.  We had a turnover in there.  The pressure was definitely immense.  I think our guys made a couple of mistakes there.  Fortunately we were able to hit a couple of free throws and then we got a stop and a rebound and we were able to get a couple of easy buckets to kind of push the lead back to six.  We got it up to eight and they knew that we would have to miss and they would have to make a couple of easy baskets.  Our guys stayed mentally tough and that is a tribute to them.”

          Smith paced Northwestern (22-5) with 26 points on the night, Koch added 22, and Wilhelmy finished with 10.  Knox had 18 for the Knights.

          The Huskies winners of their last 18 in a row play Villa-Angela St. Joseph (20-6,) a (87-47) winner over Garfield on Wednesday night at the Fieldhouse, in the regional final.

          Alberts says they will be playing a very athletic team that plays very hard.  “Cleveland St. Joe’s is an outstanding team.  They play a great schedule.  They get great athletes there.  They play really hard and I think their defense makes their offense go.  They have a 6’8” sophomore named Alonzo Gaffney that you will see some day on TV with someone big, he is that good.  He still has a lot of things to polish and get better at his game. They had Carlton Bragg a few years ago and all of those great players and he is right in that.  I think you will see him do some special things.  They have some quick athletes and good players.  They play hard and I think their schedule benefits them.  So, we are going to have to handle some pressure and do some things like that to give ourselves a chance to win,” said Alberts.

 

 

Published 3/16/17

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