PERU — Guaranteed to at least match the girls’ second place finish, Whitko boys basketball took the court Friday in the final game of Peru’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 LaVille’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 Whitko’s 25 fourth quarter points, as well as earned All-Tourney honors.
Weber also was selected to the team.
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