LAKEWOOD - Andy Bell's hot start from long range was exactly what Southwestern (4-4) needed on Thursday night, as the Trojans picked up a 71-50 CCAA West I boys basketball victory over visiting Dunkirk (1-7).
Coming into the game off the bench, Bell nailed three consecutive baseline jumpers from beyond the arc in the final minutes of the opening quarter for all of his nine points.
The senior's final trey of the opening stanza came as the buzzer sounded, and sent the Trojans into the second period with a comfortable 17-9 lead.
Photo by Jay Young
Dunkirk’s Willy Ray, left, dribbles past Southwestern defender Mike Sandbloom during Thursday’s CCAA?West I boys high school basketball game.
"We always talk to the guys about believing in the shots that they take, and trusting that they will go in," said Southwestern coach Andy Krenzer after the win. "Andy is definitely one of those kids, he really believes that his shots are going in, and tonight he got an opportunity to show us."
Patrick Mogenhan was also hot from long range, finishing the night with four treys and 12 points, while Jack Carlson led the Trojans with 14 points to go along with three steals and four boards.
Before Bell's success from beyond the arc, the Marauders were able to pick up a lead of their own in the early minutes, but it was the only one they would see the rest of the way.
Isaiah Thomas opened up the night with a long deuce, and a subsequent steal by Richard Pickens put Dunkirk up 8-5. Thomas ended up with a game-high 20 points to go along with six boards for the Marauders. Michael Bess followed with 12 points and three steals.
After falling behind, it was Mogenhan's first trey that brought the contest back to even, and paved the way for Bell's nine-point run to end the period.
Southwestern's offensive push continued in the second period, with baskets by Kyle Moran and Riley Rybicki stretching the lead to 21-9. Rybicki finished with eight points, five assists and three steals, while Moran led the way down low with 11 rebounds.
After falling into a serious hole, Thomas led a charge for the Marauders with consecutive buckets down low, which helped shrink the Trojans lead to 33-22 at half.
That momentum from Dunkirk carried over into the third quarter, as Willy Ray hit a quick three after the start of the period. The Trojans struggled to find their way in the early minutes, relinquishing six points to start the half.
"Dunkirk is a talented team and is going to make runs like that. Their strength is rebounding and that was the problem," noted Krenzer.
A baseline drive by Ray shrunk the lead to just three points, but after that Southwestern put it's foot back on the gas to finish the game.
A nifty dish outside by Carlson to Mike Sandbloom pushed the lead back to five, and the Marauders struggled to maintain possession after falling just short of their comeback.
"I'm glad that our guys worked hard in the second half. After that we got our legs going and made a run," noted Dunkirk assistant Jack O'Brien. "It's good to see that fight and that competitive spirit."
Mogenhan took no chances in the game's final period after Dunkirk's earlier push, hitting three buckets from long range to help the Trojans stretch their margin.
Nick Gustafson gave Southwestern more quality from its bench, notching four points in the final quarter.