By Justin Whitaker
LIZTON — In front of a jam-packed homecoming crowd, the Tri-West Bruins completed the doubleheader sweep of rival Danville in girls’ and boys’ basketball.
If last night’s Tri-West and Danville girls’ basketball game was a motion picture, Lauren DeSutter gave an Oscar-winning performance.
The senior guard’s 37 points, seven steals and four assists led the Bruins (14-5) to an 80-46 victory over Danville (9-10) and made school history.
DeSutter tied a school record for most points scored in game and broke school records with seven 3-pointers made and she took ownership of the most points scored in a single season. DeSutter needed five points to break the record and shattered it.
“Honestly it means a lot to me,” DeSutter said. “It’s my last home game ever to play at Tri-West and for me to be able to beat records here tonight, it just made my night,”
To make the night that much sweeter, she also won basketball homecoming queen.
“It just added on,” DeSutter said beaming. “It was great, too.”
From the opening tip, Tri-West was ready to play.
The Bruins exploded for a season-best 45 points in the first half and scored one point less than their season-high of 81 points. Tri-West shot 54 percent from the field and 62 percent from beyond the arc.
“I just think it was our best game from start to finish,” Tri-West coach Brad Acton said. “I thought everybody contributed with kids coming off the bench that got big minutes. Everybody was helping us win.”
Bruins sophomore Karen Jones dropped in 16 points and eight rebounds. Maleha Motter led Danville with 12 points and six rebounds.
The Warriors had trouble keeping up with the Bruins offensively as they shot 31 percent for the game and had 25 turnovers.
“To start with, there isn’t any reason why a team should come out flat and we were just totally flat tonight,” Danville coach Terry Hammons said. “It’s a conference game, it’s a good rival, it’s a matter of being able to step up and show people that you can compete and we didn’t do that tonight.”
A full-court press flustered Danville initially with six, first quarter turnovers. The Warriors had trouble getting into their offense and shot 3 of 12 in the first quarter. The Bruins led 24-8 after the first with 10 from DeSutter and eight from Jones in the quarter.
In the second quarter, it was more of the same for both teams. Tri-West continued it’s hot shooting and Danville struggled offensively. The Bruins stretched the lead to 41-13 with an 11-0 run and led 45-18 at half.
Danville was only outscored by seven in the second half as their play got better.
“Maybe a spurt here or a spurt there but the overall flow of the game was all Tri-West,” Hammons said. “Danville was just not a factor tonight.”
During DeSutter’s four years on varsity, the Bruins have gone an impressive 34-5 at home.
The intensity, passion and rivalry was evident last night between the Tri-West and Danville boys’ basketball teams.
With four ties and 10 lead changes, the Bruins sent homecoming fans home happy as they defeated the Warriors 50-42 and made key plays down the stretch.
“We did a lot of little things when the game was on the line,” Tri-West coach Adam Bontreger said. “Just really proud of the effort and it was a great atmosphere. One of the better atmosphere’s I’ve coached in here at Tri-West. We had a lot of great fan support tonight and it was just a fun game for any Bruin fan.”
Danville held a 39-35 lead with under four minutes to go in the fourth. Junior Austin Lynn hit his first 3-pointer of the evening on the right wing to bring Tri-West within one. On the very next possession, Lynn stepped up and hit another 3-pointer from almost the exact same position to give the Bruins a 41-39 lead. The next time down the court, Lynn found Brant Gadberry for an open layup, giving Tri-West a 43-39 victory with 1:55 remaining.
“His seven points in that fourth quarter were as big of any seven points in the entire game,” Bontreger said.
Lynn had missed all seven of his shots until connecting on his first 3-pointer.
“He is a fearless kid,” he said. “He’s one of the guys on our team that I know is going to be a competitor and he does not want to lose.”
The Warriors held the lead throughout most of the game but it slipped just out of reach at end.
“They made some plays down the stretch, those two threes they hit there late were obviously big momentum changers,” Danville coach Brian Barber said. “It was just kind of a grind game for both teams.”
With five minutes remaining in the game, Warriors center Jackson Stone took a charge on the defensive end and then on the other side of the court scored in the paint to give Danville a 37-33 lead.
Bontreger took a timeout and the Bruins finished on a 15-3 run to close the game out. The Warriors had the momentum late but lost it.
“We didn’t fully capitalize on that like we should have,” Barber said. “When you get momentum like that, whether it’s defensive plays or offensive plays, you want to make two or three plays in a row… instead of it being a two or three point game, it’s a five, six, seven-point game. Those are crucial things. In a game like this, you’re not going to get very many of those opportunities.”
Trevor Waite scored 15 for the Bruins. Avery Motes contributed 12 points for the Warriors
With the postseason close to a month away, Tri-West is playing their best of the season.
“We are starting to play some pretty good basketball,” Bontreger said. “We are really excited with how our team is starting to gel together.”