NEW HAVEN – A lot has changed since Jan. 10 for Bishop Dwenger and Bishop Luers.
The Saints showed just how much in a 65-48 win over the Knights in the quarterfinals of the New Haven Class 3A Sectional on Wednesday.
Last time the teams played, Luers beat Dwenger 70-69 on freshman J.J. Foster’s game-winner at the buzzer.
With a renewed emphasis on defense, the Saints this time were simply too much for a struggling Knights team.
Our defensive pressure was better, Dwenger coach Matt Kostoff said. Last time we let them do whatever they wanted to do.
We are still not the most powerful offensive team, but they are starting to take defense to heart and knowing you have to play it every possession.
Dwenger (13-8) will play Leo (12-8) in the sectional semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
We were a lot more focused this time, Dwenger junior Kyle Hartman said. We wanted to get back at them after they beat us on a buzzer-beater on our home floor last time. We were hungry.
The Saints have won six straight games.
That’s the best game we have played this year, so far, Hartman said. The SAC (schedule) was over, so we knew we could relax and look forward to the sectionals.
The Saints had a balanced effort offensively, with Hartman getting 20 points, Grady Eifert 18 and Mike Fiacable 12.
Dealing with injuries and a transfer, Luers (9-11) lost nine of its last 10 games.
I don’t have the same roster I had even before Christmas, said Luers coach J.J. Foster, who has the same name as his freshman son. You are talking about a thin lineup that we have. We had guys who were playing JV that had to come up and play varsity minutes.
Luers never led.
We wanted to crush their spirits early, Hartman said.
Dwenger led by double figures in the second quarter 24-13 but couldn’t shake Luers, leading 29-21 at halftime. The Saints increased the margin to 44-31 heading into the fourth quarter. The biggest lead was 21, 65-44.
Jordan Banks had 11 points for the Knights, while Tyrell Johnson and J.J. Foster each had 10.
In the other quarterfinal game at New Haven, Leo beat Angola 74-51.
The Lions outscored the Hornets (8-13) 27-9 in the second quarter.
Leo got 16 points from David Hardin and 15 from Dylan Barrow.
For Angola, Justin Davis had 14 points, Jake Honer 11 and Kent Kohart 10.
At Wawasee, Tippecanoe Valley rallied to beat Wawasee 46-44 in a 3A sectional. The Vikings (17-3) trailed the Warriors (4-17) 39-28 early in the fourth quarter. Tanner Andrews led Tippecanoe Valley with 21 points, while Gage Reinhard had 20 for Wawasee.
At South Adams, Canterbury beat Bluffton 66-64 in a quarterfinal of a 2A sectional. The Cavaliers improve to 9-12, while the Tigers finish 8-13. In the other quarterfinal game, Adams Central held off South Adams 48-47. The Jets improved to 13-8, while the Starfires fell to 2-18.
At Hamilton, Blackhawk Christian crushed Howe 78-27 in the quarterfinals of a 1A sectional. The No. 11 Braves (14-9) outscored the Wildcats (0-20) 26-1 in the third quarter. Wes Davidson had 21 points and Chad Bell 15. The Braves will play No. 4 Elkhart Christian (17-4) in the sectional semifinals.