Postseason roundup: West Jeff slips past Northridge
By Chris Miles
It was only two minutes of game play, but it could ultimately mean the difference between a deep postseason run and a first-round exit.
The West Jefferson boys basketball team was playing with little emotion and even less fire during the first half of the Division III Central District opener against visiting Northridge Saturday night.
Trailing 29-25 Roughriders coach Bob Hunter substituted in five guys off the bench, four of which aren’t usually in the varsity playing group.
Austin Murray, D.J. McAninch, Ross Brenneman, Chris Knore and Matt Jones all came onto the floor and the coach got exactly what he was looking for.
The Roughriders (17-6) rallied and eventually won the game 78-63 to advance in the tournament, and the coach said a lot of the credit has to go to that quintet who provided a much needed spark.
“We just needed to get energy,” Hunter said. “We talked about playing with positive energy on the defensive end, we didn’t like what we saw.
“We had five guys that we liked how they played the other night at Triad, they worked their tails off all season long like everybody else and they came in and gave us what we needed.”
Jonathan Flucke (19), Ryan Love (12), Nick Mendenhall (12) and Logan Stepp (10) all scored in double figures in the win.
The 10th-seeded Roughriders advanced to a second round game at No. 5 Worthington Christian Wednesday at 7 p.m.
“There was a little bit more focus after that,” Hunter said. “It worked out pretty well.”
Zac Carey scored a career-high 35 points as the 21st seeded Red Raiders went on the road and knocked off No. 19 Utica Saturday in D-II tournament play.
London (9-13) had scored 34 points through three quarters, before erupting for 31 in the final stanza.
Brok Bennett (12) and Kyle Fisher (11) also reached double figures in the win.
The team advances to a second round date at top-seeded Brookhaven Thursday at 7 p.m.
Jonathan Alder 34
The Pioneers (4-19) had their season come to an end with a first round D-II tournament loss at Marion-Franklin Saturday.
Collin Mullet led Alder with 13 points and Mason Will added nine more.