Leslie defeated Western 55-44 Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Class B District Tournament at Northwest High School.
Both teams started the game slowly, but Leslie found their offensive rhythm first, fueled by great interior play from Dylan Patton. Patton scored all 8 of his points in the first half.
Western had a small run early in the second quarter off of second chance opportunities as Ryan Conklin was a force on the offensive glass.
“Western really killed us on the offensive boards,” Leslie Coach Matt Johns said. “13 offensive rebounds according to our count – something we can’t allow to happen.”
Momentum shifted completely in Leslie’s favor, however, when John Jones deflected a pass and saved it from going out of bounds by passing it behind his back to Matt Subject who scored an easy layup.
The Blackhawks lead the Panthers 22-15 going into the half.
Western picked up the pace defensively and had 3 steals in the first four minutes of the 2nd Half, but still couldn’t seem to cut the lead. The Panthers biggest push came with 5:30 to play in the game, when Isaiah Ingles hit a jumper to tie the contest at 32.
Ingles was a force for the Panthers, scoring 11 of his 18 points in the latter part of the game. His production was not enough in the end though, as Leslie pulled away late.
“I think we did a great job contesting Isaiah’ s shots,” said Johns. “He’s going to make some big baskets, but overall I was happy with our defense.”
Both Matt Subject and Jordan Pearsall had big games for the Blackhawks, scoring 19 and 10, respectively. Johns said offensive consistency is key in order to win the next game. If his offense can avoid playing stagnant, he likes their chances.
Leslie will play in the District Final March 7th, at 7:00p.m.