WESTPHALIA – The majority of the high school basketball scene in Michigan got a two-week jump on Jimmy Lehman and the Pewamo-Westphalia boys basketball team.
It was worth it, as Lehman and nine of his teammates on the court were busy capping a perfect year on the gridiron with a Division 7 state championship at Ford Field. For Lehman, the focus is now on helping a consistent basketball program, which is also on the path to perfection.
Lehman scored a team-high 11 points Tuesday night as he helped Pewamo-Westphalia pick up a key Central Michigan Athletic Conference victory over Fulton, 63-45, on its home floor.
“It’s tough getting a late start,” Lehman said. “Coach (Luke Pohl) always talks about how it’s tough because all of those other teams have that time if they didn’t make a deep playoff run in football. He said we just have to battle through it and do what we can with the time we got.”
After being held scoreless through the first 12 minutes of Tuesday’s game, Lehman scored all 11 of his points during a pivotal 17-3 run in the second quarter. It was a back-and-forth contest prior to Lehman’s hot streak, but his scoring spree, which consisted of three 3-pointers, helped his team take a 12-point lead into the second half.
“He’s always been a good outside shooter, but he finishes a lot better inside, too,” Pohl said. “In the last 16 years, we have not won any fewer than 15 games in a season. Our kids, they know the bar is high, and they have to try and reach it every time. We expect to be here. These are our goals.”
A 3-pointer to open the third quarter from senior point guard Ryan Smith, who scored nine points, followed by a bucket from Garrett Trierweiler, who added eight points, helped Pewamo-Westphalia (5-0, 3-0) extend its lead to 17 early in the second half. Baskets from Caleb Walden, who scored six points, and Austin Avery kept Fulton (3-2, 1-1) within striking distance, but a Pewamo-Westphalia bucket from Logan Hengesbach, who finished with eight points, ignited a 14-3 run to close the quarter.
“When everything gets going bad, we have some people who tuck their heads, including myself,” said Fulton junior guard Cole Blair, who scored a game-high 17 points. “We have to be better, work as a team, and overcome those runs.”
Fulton’s Brevin Cassady added nine points and Evan Barton scored six points.
Pewamo-Westphalia’s Bryce Thelen scored eight points and Peyton Heckman pitched in with seven points.
Contact James L. Edwards III at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII.