With the top spot in the CMAC on the line, Pewamo-Westphalia outlasted Laingsburg, 52-44, to put itself in the driver’s seat for the regular-season title.
Led by 18 points from sophomore Lane Simon, the Pirates’ victory means they control their own destiny in the league.
“I think it will give us a lot of momentum, and we’ll strive to work hard,” Simon said. “We’re getting there, but we just have to keep working.”
A nearly full gym that never quieted down gave the game the feel of something a little more special than just a regular-season contest.
Initially, though, Pewamo-Westphalia could not match the crowd’s intensity. The Wolfpack drained three early 3-pointers to help push their lead to 17-9.
But that lead didn’t last too long. The Pirates closed the half on a 14-2 run to enter the break up 23-19.
“We were maybe in awe in the beginning of the game with the crowd,” Simon said. “We just came back and got focused.”
The Wolfpack didn’t go away, though. They came out strong after the half and grabbed the lead twice in the third quarter.
But after taking a 35-34 lead on a 3-point play by senior Jacob Zielinski, the Laingsburg offense went cold for over five minutes. The Pirates capitalized by going on a 9-0 run during that span and seized control for the remainder of the game.
“We were right there, and they made a couple of plays to get a two or three-basket lead,” said Laingsburg coach Greg Mitchell. “Then they were able to play comfortable, and we were playing that catch up mode.”
Afterwards, Pewamo-Westphalia was thrilled by its defense late in the game.
“We work hard on defense every day in practice, and you have to defend a team that moves the basketball like they do,” said Pirates coach Luke Pohl.
While Simon led the way for Pewamo-Westphalia, juniors Adam Wesley and Nick Spitzley both chipped in 10 points.
Zielinski, who finished with 18 points, was the only player in double-figures for the Wolfpack.