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Westview Boys triumph in NECC Tourney

 

Westview kept its hopes alive for a third straight NECC boys basketball tournament title with wins over Prairie Heights and Churubusco earlier this week in Emma.

The wins earned coach Rob Yoder’s 10-1 squad a semifinal home game this Friday night against Fairfield. The Falcons rallied to beat Lakeland, 48-42 Wednesday night to reach the semis.

West Noble, which trimmed Hamilton (69-43) and Eastside (50-40) in its initial tourney tests will host Fremont in the other semifinal matchup Friday. The Eagles nipped Central Noble (77-74) in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round.

The survivors of the semifinal battles will square off Saturday night in Angola for the championship.

Kyle Miller came off the bench to tally a career-high 16 points in leading the Warriors to a 61-40 pasting of county rival  Prairie Heights in the first round Tuesday. Miller buried all three of Westview’s three-point baskets and dished out a team-best seven assists.

Nine other Warriors got into the scoring act, led by Adrian Brandenberger with 10 markers.

Kyler West had nine points to top Prairie Heights, which now plays host to Angola in the consolation round Thursday.

Westview trailed Churubusco, 14-13 at halftime of their quarterfinal tilt Wednesday. But sparked by Nic Raber’s five points, four from Brandenberger and a key three-pointer by Brant Yoder, the Warriors put together a 15-6 run in the third period to seize a 28-20 lead.

Brandenberger finished with 13 markers to pace the victors. He also shared rebound honors with Nic Raber, as both snared four caroms.

Tyler Arrowsmith tallied 10 points for Churubusco, which defeated Angola (44-32) in Monday’s opening round.

Lakeland appeared well on its way to gaining a rematch with Westview when Marco Olivares’ basket gave the Lakers a 35-24 lead over Fairfield in their quarterfinal contest Wednesday in LaGrange.

However, 13 straight Falcon points, including nine from Chandler Kauffman, garnered the visitors their first lead of the game (37-35) late in the frame. Fairfield then scored seven of the first nine points in the fourth stanza to take a 46-39 edge.

Tim Abbott, who led Lakeland with 15 points, swished the last of his three triples with 55 seconds left to pull the Lakers within four (46-42). But that would be as close as the hosts would get.

Kauffman finished with a game-high 22 points, a dozen coming on four, three-point goals.

Spencer Mortola had 12 points for Lakeland, which plays a consolation contest against Central Noble in Albion Thursday night.