Three days, three wins for Westville
By AARON MCKRELL
WESTVILLE — A strong start spelled victory for the Blackhawks on Saturday.
The Westville boys basketball team began its matchup with winless West Central with a 16-0 first-quarter run that developed into a 63-48 victory.
“The first quarter there, we were ready to play,” said Westville coach Drew Eubank. “We didn’t take them lightly.”
The win was the third for Westville (6-3) in three days, and came a night after the Blackhawks gritted out a 50-47 victory over LaVille.
Any exhaustion the Blackhawks may have felt wasn’t apparent in the first quarter. Julian Ellis scored the game’s first five points, and buckets from Alec Hannon, Gavin Hannon and Kenny Pepper — who finished with a game-high 15 points — spurred the Blackhawks to a 16-0 run and 21-2 lead heading into the second quarter.
“(Pepper) was really good for us when he was out there, and he controlled the boards and played pretty tough,” Eubank said.
The Trojans (0-7) started the second on a six-point spurt that cut Westville’s lead to 13, but that’s as close as they would get. The Blackhawks carried a 34-15 lead into halftime and a 49-28 advantage by the end of the third quarter.
They led by as much as 23 points in the fourth, with reserves getting valuable minutes for a sizable portion of the game.
Yet, while Eubank acknowledged his team may have been fatigued from the previous night’s game, he said he thought his team coasted on the first-quarter lead it had built through the rest of the game.
“You want to see more killer instinct, and it was disappointing that that wasn’t
necessarily there all the time,” he said.
Senior Trevor Henckel, though, stuck out to Eubank.
“He showed the kind of toughness that we need to play with across the board,” Eubank said.
Henckel, a reserve, finished with a career-high eight points, while Alec Hannon and Ellis each scored 10.
West Central last won Feb. 9, 2019, a span of 35 games, but Eubank gave credit to the Trojans for playing with tenacity throughout the game.
“(West Central coach B.J. Aldridge) does a good job of getting his kids to play really hard,” Eubank said.
At 6-3, the Blackhawks achieved their best nine-game start since they beat Hebron to become 6-3 in December 2017. They’ll host Washington Township (4-2) in a Porter County Conference matchup Tuesday.
“They're a really fundamentally sound team, and they’re gonna pressure (us),” Eubank said. “They do some run and jump, throw some different things at you, and we’ve gotta do a much better job of playing with poise and handling their pressure when they bring it."