Westwood boys use inside game to take down Negaunee

Westwood’s Zach Niemi has the ball with Negaunee’s Drew Lindberg on defense Wednesday February 7, 2018 at Lakeview Elementary. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

NEGAUNEE — Junior guard Nathan Beckman scored 17 points to help the Westwood High School boys basketball team earn a 58-49 victory over Mid-Peninsula Conference foe Negaunee at Lakeview Memorial Gym on Wednesday night.

The Patriots improved to 5-7 on the season while the Miners dropped to 6-9.

Westwood head coach Chad Hewitt said scoring from the post and inside the key combined with tight defense helped his team earn the win.

“Negaunee is a great team and have a great coach in Coach Waterman,” he said. “They’re never going to give you anything, they compete every night. They have really good guard play and great shooters. Our game plan was to do our best to make them uncomfortable when they shot. Offensively we tried to pound the ball inside and I thought we did a good job of that for most of the game.

“I’m proud of all 11 of our guys, my assistant coach, our JV teams and coaches, they did a great job this week getting prepared and now it’s back to work for Manistique on Friday.”

Negaunee head coach Dan Waterman said a lack of full game effort along with a strong opponent gave his team the defeat.

“Westwood was quicker to getting loose balls and rebounds for 2 1/2 quarters,” he said. “Give them credit, they outworked us. My kids came back, they didn’t throw in the towel and kept fighting, but it needs to be a four quarter effort for us, not a quarter and a half. If it is, good things are going to happen so hopefully we can learn that lesson going forward. We’re going to watch film and hopefully seeing is believing because we’ve got a tough game against Ishpeming on Friday.

“It’s still about self improvement for us, and (tonight) you could see we need to get more consistent with our effort. From the opening tip we have to perform at an extremely high level because nothing comes easy for us, so we have to compensate for that by outworking people.”

Westwood jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on buckets from senior center David Delarye, Ethan Burke and a 3-pointer from Beckman. The Miners matched that with three buckets of their own from senior forward Luke Mattson, and a triple and 2-pointer from sophomore guard Drew Lindberg to tie the game at 7-7.

Negaunee took it’s first lead of the game when sophomore guard Jason Waterman sunk a triple at the buzzer to end the first quarter with the Miners up 10-9.

The Patriots poured it on in the second, outscoring the Miners 19-7 to go up 28-17 at the break.

Westwood continued that mometum out of the locker room, going on a 10-0 scoring run to begin the third.

The Patriots were up by as much as 21 in the third quarter before the Miners started to chip away at the lead.

Down 42-22, Waterman hit consecutive triples to cut the lead down to 14. The Miners had the lead down to 10 going into the final frame.

Negaunee trimmed the lead down to six twice in the fourth quarter, but the Patriots made their late free throws and held on for the nine point victory.

Delarye added 14 points for Westwood while junior forward Blake Hewitt had 9. Waterman led Negaunee with 27 points while Lindberg added 10.

Both teams are back in action on Friday, with Westwood traveling to Manistique and Negaunee going to Ishpeming.

Negaunee took the JV contest 32-29.

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net.