Some late rebounding would ultimately decide the state Class M quarterfinals for the Weston High boys basketball team.
The 14th seed, the Trojans had clawed their way back from an earlier 10-point deficit against 11th-seeded Brookfield to trail by just four points with less than a minute and a half to play. The host Bobcats later missed some shots but denied the Trojans the rebounds and then hit some key free throws to pull off a 61-58 win on Saturday, March 11.
“We just couldn’t get rebounds,” said Weston head coach Sam Moser, whose team defeated Brookfield 75-59 during the regular season. “We have to get those.”
Weston did, however, pull off one upset in the tournament when it visited third-seeded Waterford three days earlier. Despite a long bus ride, the Trojans did not take long to get warmed up offensively for one of their best starts of the season and a 71-65 win.
Weston led 27-20 after one quarter and increased its lead to 10 (44-34) at halftime.
Third-seeded Waterford had an advantage in rebounding in its end of the court and used this in scoring a number of second-chance points. It also turned some turnovers by the Trojans into scoring opportunities.
“We were good offensively,” said Moser. “Defensively, we gave up some easy looks. We made some adjustments.”
Nik Parker led Weston with 25 points and had 10 rebounds. Hamilton Forsythe scored 16 and pulled down 15 rebounds.
Zach Clevenger scored nine with two three-pointers and Christian Watanabe netted seven. Andrew Folger and Chris Hover scored five apiece, each with a three-pointer.
Jason Lawrence scored four for Weston.
Pushed back a day due to snow, the quarterfinal game was a close affair for most of the night. Weston trailed just 15-13 after one quarter and was down just 32-29 with a whole second half to go.
It opened the second half with a three-pointer by Clevenger, and Parker also scored to give the visitors a 34-32 lead. Brookfield, however, answered in a big way.
Hitting four straight three-pointers, the Bobcats took a 10-point (44-34) lead with 4:46 left in the third quarter. Weston, however, did not panic.
“I told them we were still in it,” said Moser. “We just have to keep battling.”
And battle the Trojans did. They still trailed 48-39 going into the last frame but managed to tie it at 51-51 with 3:42 left to play.
While Weston never actually regained the lead, it still remained anyone’s game until the very end. Down by three, the Trojans had only enough time to attempt a long three-pointer by Forsythe that bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
He led Weston with 24 points, including two three-pointers. Hover scored 14. Parker scored nine and Zach Clevenger sank six, all coming on a pair of three-pointers. All were playing in their final high school game.
Folger hit one three-pointer and Christian Watanabe scored two points for Weston, which finished the season at 15-9 overall, which included appearances in both the South-West Conference and state tournaments.
“Overall I thought it was a good season,” said Moser. “We can certainly look back on it as a success.”