The Southeastern Panthers hope to repeat their "Cinderella" Tournament performance of last year, and got off to the right start with a 50-45 win over Western, Monday, in the Division 3 Sectional Semis at the Waverly Downtown Gym.
The final score was the widest margin that either team had in the contest. Southeastern led 9-7 after one quarter, it was 17-17 at half, and the Panthers clung to a 31-30 lead after three periods. The fourth quarter opened slowly for both teams, as Western scored the first points of the final period with 5:12 remaining to take a 32-31 advantage. From there, the game went back-and-forth several times.
Seven big plays in the closing three minutes of the game, were notable. Western led 38-35 with 2:49 to play. Southeastern's Lane Ruby hit a three-pointer with 2:30 remaining to tie the game 38-38. Western regain the lead and were up 42-40 when the Panthers' Aaron Gillum connected on a three-pointer with 1:10 left for a 43-42 lead. Reece Wheeler added two free-throws to extend their lead to 45-42, then made a critical blocked shot as Western's Ryan Woods driving shot to the bucket. After the Panthers bumped their lead to 47-42, Alex Humphrey of the Indians connected ona three-pointer to cut the margin to 47-45. Southeastern was able to get free throws from Lane Ruby and Aaron Gillum down the stretch for the final score of 50-45.
Southeastern's Reece Wheeler racked-up a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds, to go along with 3 blocked shots to lead the Panthers. Aaron Gillum was their leading scorer with 14 points, Lane Ruby added 11 and Rex Hartman with 9. Noah Dresbach rounded-out the SE scoring with 4 points.
Western got a game-high 16 points from Lane Brewster, followed by Alex Humphrey's 10 points.
The Panthers shot 17/44 from the field for 39%- including 5/16 from the arc. They were also 11/16 at the charity stripe. Western was 16/51 for 31%- including 6/18 from the arc and 7/8 from the foul line.
Both teams has 28 rebounds, with Southeastern committing 14 turnovers and Western with 10.
Southeastern improves to (10-13) and will face SHAC Champ West Union at 8:30pm Friday, for the D-3 Sectional title at the Waverly Downtown Gym. Western's season ends at (13-10).
Listen to the play-by-play call from WKKJ's Mike Smith and Tom Beard on our podcast link below....