By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
A sectional final is a most inopportune moment to have a cold shooting night.
And that circumstance is exactly what befell the Westview Warriors Saturday night as they fell to LaVille, 44-36 in a Class 2A Westview Sectional championship game at Westview.
Westview (20-4) shot just 14-for-45 on the night (31 percent) en route to the loss.
For coach Rob Yoder, it was a sad lesson for his team in one of the cruel realities of basketball: Some nights, the shots are there, but they don’t fall.
“Credit LaVille’s defense,” Yoder said. “We got some good looks at shots. It happens.”
Yoder added that the loss does not diminish what was a good season for the Warriors, who won the NECC regular season and tourney titles, going 10-0 in the conference.
“Sometimes after a loss like this, it takes a while for those positives to become evident,” Yoder said.
The Lancers’ deliberate style seemed to rattle the Warriors somewhat early, forcing them into a number of low-percentage shots.
Westview led 9-6 at the first stop and 21-17 at intermission, but LaVille opened the third with an 8-0 run and never looked back.
The Warriors found themselves facing a major gut-check entering the fateful final period: trailing 31-24, their sectional title hopes hanging in the balance.
But LaVille made the Warriors task harder early in the fourth, pushing out to a double digit lead at 36-26.
Westview finally started to come to life with just under five minutes left in regulation. Four quick points cut the Lancer lead to six at 36-30 with 4:45 remaining.
But the Warriors were then faced to foul and the Lancers were able to hold off Westview down the stretch.
LaVille head coach Michael Edison credited his staff, including his father, Jack, who led Plymouth to the 1982 state championship back in the days of the single-class tournament.
And Edison said his team’s four seniors — Landon Manuel, Jeff Haygood, Andrew Hostetler and NIcholas Amor — set the4 tone for the win.
“I told the guys at halftime that we were in a great position,” Edison said. “ANd the seniors went out and led the way in the second half.”
Hostetler had 15 points to lead all scorers for the Lancers (18-6). Blake Berger added 13.
Jordyn Bontrager had 12 points to lead the Warriors — all of those in the first half. Kyle Miller had seven.
The Lancers move on to next Saturday’s North Judson Regional.
The Warriors will say goodbye to three seniors: Brett Yoder, Nic Raber and Kyle Miller.