By Ryan Palencer Flyer Correspondent
Hendricks County Flyer
---- — GREENCASTLE — Despite 15 point outputs from Brant Gadberry and Trevor Waite, the Tri-West basketball team fell in its regional opener 74-58 Saturday to eventual champion Guerin Catholic.
“Obviously, we are really disappointed,” Tri-West coach Adam Bontreger said. “We really felt that we could come out and compete a little bit better than what we did. I think that the fourth quarter was more of a view of what our guys have been all year long ... my kids battled the entire game.
“(Guerin) is a heck of a team. There is a reason they are No. 2 in the state. When they hit shots the way that they did today, it will be hard for anybody to beat them.”
Guerin (22-3) got off to a hot start, beginning the game on an 11-0 run. However, Tri-West (15-8) closed the quarter on an 11-6 run to cut the deficit to six as the teams entered the second. Whit Rapp scored seven of his game-high 25 points in the quarter for Guerin.
“We got off to a great start,” Guerin Catholic coach Pete Smith said. “We got some good looks to start the game. I thought that Tri-West played really hard, but our size took its toll on them.”
The Golden Eagle defense showed its prowess in the second quarter, holding the Bruins to just six points, as they took a 31-17 advantage going into halftime.
In addition, Tri-West was outscored 20-13 in the third quarter and Guerin Catholic was able to extend the lead to 51-30 after the third.
However, there was no quit in the Bruins. With just over four minutes left in the game Austin Musial capped a 12-2 Bruin run, to cut the deficit to 10 at 58-48.
The Golden Eagles did not go away though, and held off the late Tri-West surge.
Along with Waite and Gadberry, Austin Musial added 11 points to help pace the Bruins.
To go along with Rapp, Matt Holba scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Guerin Catholic, while Aaron Brennan chipped in 11.
For Tri-West, the program now looks to the future, as it returns all but three seniors — Musial, Gadberry, and Bailee Verynckt.
“Overall, these seniors really gave the program the leadership that it needed,” Bontreger said. “They gave the determination and confidence that it took to win a sectional title and to have another successful season.”
With the foundation laid, Bontreger said he believes the sky is the limit now for the program.
“We want this team to be a Top 10 team in the state in 3A,” he said. “We want them to be recognized as a team like that. I really believe that we are starting to get some credibility across the state. We are bulking up our schedule and playing better competition every year. This year we played Brownsburg, Mooresville, and Avon. Next year, we are hopefully going to be adding one or two more 4A teams. That helps us prepare for a Guerin Catholic in regional play. We want to be playing at the regional level every year.”