Guard play proved the difference on Wednesday as Eugene German and Jacob Bekelya each scored exactly 30 points in wins for 21st Century and Kouts, respectively, on the second night of the Morgan Township Class A sectional. Led by German’s 30 points, 21st Century rolled to an 80-51 blowout of host Morgan Township. Dantrell Hurt added 17 for the Cougars.
“I thought they played well. We’ve been kind of itching to get to the tournament,” 21st Century coach Rodney Williams said. “I think we prepare all season to play in the sectionals, so we played pretty well.”
To start the game, 21st Century (14-5) jumped out to a 15-0 lead, hitting each of its first five field goal attempts, including two 3-pointers by German.
“I didn’t know who these guys were,” Rodney said with a laugh. “They played well. That’s what we’ve been working toward all season, putting four quarters together, and I think we did that (Wednesday) night.”
The Cherokees (10-10) finally scored their first points on a Jacob Koselke offensive rebound and putback. Morgan then rattled off eight straight points, part of a 12-5 run to close the quarter and cut the deficit to 20-12.
Morgan stayed close until halftime, but 21st Century opened the third quarter with seven straight points, capped by a Hurt 3-pointer. The Cougars outscored Morgan 23-10 in the period and led by 25 heading into the fourth quarter.
With the game out of hand, both teams emptied their benches to let the reserves get some sectional playing time. Rodney hopes the chance to do that will help his team – which has won five straight games – later in the tournament.
“Anytime you get guys some experience, some playing time, that’s going to help,” Rodney said. Jacob Koselke led Morgan with 24 points. Chase Braden added a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
In the nightcap, a big second half allowed Kouts to pull away in a 69-57 win over Westville. In addition to Bekelya’s 30-point effort, Cody Nelson scored 22 for the Mustangs.
Kouts (16-4) led 48-35 after the third quarter but Westville rallied late on a trio of 3-pointers by Josh Brownlee. The Mustangs were able to seal the win at the free throw line, however, despite shooting just 8-for-17 from the stripe in the period.
“We just didn’t hit free throws,” Kouts coach Matt Crawford said. “They were able to hit some contested shots – and credit to them for making them – and we just couldn’t hit free throws in the fourth quarter.”
Westville (13-9) was led by Shawn Gerron’s 17 points. Brownlee and Alex Henn added 13 apiece.