Big third quarter: Westwood boys basketball team starts 2nd half strong in 51-39 Class C district tournament win over Negaunee

Westwood’s Nathan Beckman, left, tries to get to the ball with teammate Taylor Dellangelo, right, as Negaunee’s Drew DuShane (22) plays defense during their Class C district tournament game Wednesday evening at Lakeview Memorial Gym in Negaunee. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

NEGAUNEE — Junior guard Nathan Beckman and senior center David Delarye were too much to handle for a young Miners team, scoring 14 points each as the Westwood boys basketball team defeated Negaunee 51-39 in a Class C district tournament semifinal at Lakeview Memorial Gym on Wednesday night.

The win advanced Westwood (11-9) into the championship game against Ishpeming (15-6) at 7 p.m. Friday back in Negaunee.

Westwood head coach Chad Hewitt said a big third quarter propelled his team.

“We’ve been talking about it all year, win the third quarter, win the game,” he said. “Play for a full 32 minutes, not 28, not 30, a full 32 minutes and (tonight) I think that the guys did that for sure.”

Hewitt also praised Beckman and Delarye for their performances as well as contributions from the rest of his team.

“Nathan Beckman knocked down quite a few shots for us,” he said. “He did a really good job of getting the ball and handling the press. David (Delarye) is just a grinder. But we got great minutes out of several of our players.

“They all contributed, whether it was rebounding or defending or assists. Things like that and I couldn’t be more proud of our guys.”

Beckman said limiting the Miners offensive game plan was a key to victory.

“We kind of stopped what they wanted to do on offense and we got into a groove on offense ourselves,” he said. “It really helped us get into the full game and get some easy buckets.”

Delarye added that limiting the Miners’ key offensive players was a goal as well.

“We had a really good game plan,” he said. “With the defense and switching everything so we didn’t let their (Negaunee’s) best players get the ball for shooting. We had good defense, made our shots and won the game.”

Negaunee head coach Dan Waterman said missed chances early on set the pace for the remainder of the game.

“It was frustrating,” he said. “I thought our kids gave a good effort, but it wasn’t enough. You’ve got to give Westwood a ton of credit. They made some crunch-time plays, especially in the third quarter.

“I thought we had some good looks that didn’t go down early that might have changed the complexion of the game, but we just didn’t have enough.”

The Miners finished the season at 8-13. Despite a year of ups and downs, Waterman has a potential-filled, young roster to work with in the future with the likes of sophomores Jakson Sager, Drew DuShane, Drew Lindberg and Jason Waterman, who combined for 26 points Wednesday.

“We’re going to miss our seniors and the job they’ve done in our program for the last two years,” he said. “It’s a little early right now, but obviously with the amount of young kids we have playing big minutes and critical positions, we’re very optimistic about what we’re going to be in the future.

“After we have some time to let this settle, we’ll think about that and get back in the gym and get working again.”

Beckman quickly opened the scoring on Wednesday with a triple from the top of the arc for a 3-0 Patriots’ lead.

After a Negaunee free throw, Lindberg made a layup on the next possession to tie the game 3-3.

The Miners went ahead for the first time right after that on a bucket and foul from senior guard Jacob Ennett to make it 6-3.

Westwood answered with consecutive buckets from sophomore guard Taylor Dellangelo to give the Patriots the 7-6 edge. Westwood held on to that lead through the rest of the first quarter as it led 11-7 going into the next quarter.

The Miners kept it close in the second, but Westwood held onto the lead including 18-15 at halftime.

It was the third when Westwood found its groove. Midway through the period, the Patriots got three straight buckets from junior forward Jacob Adriano and the next two from Delarye to pull ahead 31-22.

Negaunee climbed back within five on a jumper from Sager, but the Patriots held a 10-point lead at the end of the quarter, 36-26.

Adriano had back-to-back buckets early in the fourth to move Westwood’s lead into double digits, 40-28, increasing it to as many as 16 points.

Adriano finished with 12 points for Westwood while Dellangelo had eight. Waterman scored 14 points for Negaunee while Ennett had 12 and Sager 10.

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net.