DANVILLE — The Tri-West boys’ basketball team’s season came to an end in its sectional opener against a hot Northwest team.
Winners of nine straight games, the Space Pioneers defeated the Bruins 86-62 at Danville Community High School.
Seven Northwest players scored eight points or more, including five in double digits, as Tri-West had trouble keeping up.
“Their athleticism from the beginning of their bench to the bottom of the bench is probably just as good as almost anybody in the state, not even let alone (Class) 3A,” Tri-West coach Adam Bontreger said. “They are an extremely talented team, extremely athletic group and when they are hitting outside shots the way they were hitting it’s really difficult for us to stay in a ball game like that.”
The Bruins trailed only 14-11 after the first quarter before the Space Pioneers took off.
Northwest made five of its seven 3-pointers in the second quarter and led 41-23 at halftime. Tri-West played a 2-3 zone and was hopeful to catch the skilled team on an off night shooting.
“It’s hard to defend them in the man-to-man situation because of their quickness, athleticism, and ability to break us down 1-on-1,” Bontreger said. “We had to rely on our zone and when teams are shooting the way they were shooting it, it’s going to be hard to beat anybody on a given night.”
Tri-West cut the lead to 13 in the third quarter after a Kyle Stamm layup, but it was as close as the Bruins would get in the second half. While they were unable to mount a comeback, the effort never wavered for Tri-West.
“That’s who we are as a basketball program. We are built on hard work. That’s what we are all about and playing with passion. Our community has been supportive of us all year,” Bontreger said. “Tonight we wanted to remind our kids what it meant to play hard and play with pride down the stretch.”