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PERU â€” Guaranteed to at least match the girlsâ€™ second place finish, Whitko boys basketball took the court Friday in the final game of Peruâ€™s Holiday Tournament.
The Wildcats faced, and beat, the LaVille Lancers by a final of 64-55.
The half ended with a difference of just one point, 26-25 in favor of LaVille. At the break, Logan Irwin had 13 of his team leading 34 points.
Though keeping the score close, the Wildcats were just 7-for-29 in the first half (.241).
In the third quarter, following the fifth tie of the game (29), the Lancers scored 11 of the next 14 points.
Wildcat Weber scored a lone shot from behind the arc during the stretch until the bleeding stopped with a Whitko basket at 2:34 left in the third, putting the score at 41-34.
Head Coach Rob Irwin switched the defense to a full press, causing two consecutive steals leading to two Whitko points.
With a point from the free throw line from Stoddard, the Wildcats were within four; it was momentary however, as LaVille took a six-point lead into the fourth quarter, 43-37.
It took the Wildcats 48 seconds to eliminate the deficit.
Irwin scored, Stoddard scored off a steal and following a second straight steal, Gabe Powell was fouled in the midst of a scoring basket; he converted the extra foul shot to give Whitko a 43-42 lead.
The Wildcats took the lead and kept it until two minutes left in the game, when LaVilleâ€™s Jordyn Williams hit a pair of free-throws to tie things at 53.
Ten seconds later, Irwin hit from beyond the arc, and on the next possession was fouled, making both free throws and giving the Wildcats a 58-53 lead, a lead they did not surrender for the remainder of the game.
Irwin finished with 13 of Whitkoâ€™s 25 fourth quarter points, as well as earned All-Tourney honors.
Weber also was selected to the team.
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