By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
No, it wasn’t sectional time at West Noble Friday night.
It just felt like it.
West Noble and Westview met Friday night in the NECC Tournament semifinals in front of a packed house, and this one was a good-old-fashioned Indiana barn-burner.
In the end, Westview pulled away late to post a 59-50 win and move on to Saturday night’s championship game against Fairfield. The Falcons were a 40-29 winner over Angola in another semifinal contest at Fairfield Friday night.
It was the first loss of the season for the Chargers (10-1). Coach Jim Best said he wants to see how his team responds to its first real adversity of the season.
“It’s not always about how you win,” Best said. “Sometimes, it’s about how you lose. We’ll see how we respond on Monday.”
Westview, after an even first stanza, began to get some separation in the second quarter, leading 28-22 at halftime.
The Warriors got out to a 10-point lead early in the third, but West Noble rallied to within four at 38-34 at the final stop.
Westview was able to hold off the Charger rally and make its free throws down the stretch to preserve the road win.
Westview’s Nic Raber, who had 13 points, said sticking together as a team when the Chargers made their run was the key.
“We communcated out there and made the shots when we needed them,” Raber said.
The Warriors’ Jordyn Bontrager led the way with 16 points for Westview — including 5-of-6 key free throws in the final 2:30.
Drew Schermerhorn led West Noble with 19 points.
Westview coach Rod Yoder said the second quarter surge ended up being the difference.
“We were able to get some separation there, and then we had the ball in the hands of our surest ballhandlers and free-throw shooters late,” Yoder said.
Tonight’s championship game at Westview will get under way about 20 minutes after the conclusion of the girls championship game between West Noble and Angola.
West Noble 48, Westview 38
Earlier, Westview used an 11-0 run midway through the first quarter to get out to an early lead, outscoring the Warriors 14-5 in the opening stanza to set the tone for the contest.
Kelsie Peterson led West Noble with 16 points. Haley Richardson added 14 and Paige Shearer chipped in with 11.
Maria McCoy led Westview with 12 points. Grace Hales added 10 and Brooke Yoder had eight.
The Chargers face Angola tonight at 6 p.m. in the tournament championship game at Westview.