By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Jordyn Bontrager may have only scored seven points, but the Westview Warriors took advantage of every one of them.
The 5-10 sophomore was 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in overtime as the Warriors outlasted the Fairfield Falcons,52-49, in the championship game of the NECC tournament Saturday night at Westview.
“I just wanted to make them for my team,” Bontrager said. “I had a lot of confidence they were going in, but I was still praying for them to go in.
“This is a championship game and I live for championship games of any kind.”
“Jordyn took really good care of the ball and hit his free throws at the end,” Westview coach Rob Yoder said.
Both teams were sluggish at times as indicated by the first quarter score of Fairfield nine and Westview six.
“Both teams were playing on really low gas tanks and when you are doing that you are going to turn the ball over and you are going to miss shots you normally wouldn’t,” Yoder said. “In this tourney you are playing either three games in four days or four games in five days if you get to the championship. I have seen a lot of ugly championship games in this tourney. I told the guys this is the hardest game of the tourney to prepare for. Not because you are necessarily facing the best team, but because your body is tired. It’s a lot of games in a short period of time.”
Fairfield coach Troy Beachy compared the game to a prize fight.
“We talked to the kids before the game about how this was going to be taking some punches and throwing some punches. They way the kids played showed me that they believe more in themselves now. I have seen a lot of progress in the growth of these kids over the last week.
“I’m very proud of the effort we gave tonight, especially on the defensive end. We did everything we needed to put ourselves in a position to win this game. Westview just made a few more plays at the end than we did.”
Westview has won four straight NECC tourney titles and five over the last six seasons.
“To do that is impressive,” Yoder said.”It’s an indication of the kind of players we have had in this program.”
For 6-4 Westview senior Kyle Miller it’s his four time in a row cutting down the nets after the event. It’s Bontrager’s second
“I really wanted to win this one since it’s my last NEEC tourney,” Miller said. “It has been awesome to be on all four of them.”
“To do this two times in a row is incredible,” Bontrager said.
Miller had a big hand in getting the Warriors back into the game as the Falcons had leads of 17-8 and 18-12 in the second period.
“Our seniors are key leaders for this team and from time to time if things are not going well we will pull one of them for a chat,” Yoder said. “I pulled Kyle and told him he needed to get the team going.”
The pep talk worked as Miller connected three times from 3-point range late in the second period, including one just before the halftime that gave his team a 23-18 lead at intermission.
“The coach told me it was my job to pick the team up,” Miller said.
His long-distance shooting touch continued in the third as he drilled two more, the second of which gave Westview a 31-27 advantage with 3:31 left in the period.
“I don’t remember hitting that many in a row,” Miller said.
The Falcons appeared to be in good shape with :34 left in regulation as a basket by 6-2 sophomore Joe Line gave Fairfield a 42-39 lead. Miller made two free throws with :09 remaining to make the score 42-41. Westview had to foul and 6-2 Falcon junior Marcus Rodes made one freebie for a 43-41 lead. Six-three sophomore Chandler Aspy was fouled with :05 left and made both tosses from the charity stripe to knot the score 43-43. Fairfield couldn’t get a shot off and the game went to overtime.
“Westview is a very good team and if you leave the door open for them they are going to take advantage of it,” Beachy said.
Miller tossed in game-high 22 points for the Warriors, Aspy finished with nine and 6-3 senior Nic Raber eight.
The Falcons were led in scoring by 6-2 senior Garrett Scott with 18 points, Lantz and Line both nine and Rodes seven.
“We got really good play from our seniors — Garrett and Brad,” Beachy said.