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Late overtime shot lifts Westfield past Lafayette Jeff
December 10, 2012Lafayette Jefferson High School
Junior guard Andy Riemersma put up close to 1,000 shots alone in the Westfield gym Friday morning.
For 35 minutes and 58 seconds on Friday night, Riemersma had yet to reap the rewards of all his hard work. But every last morning jump shot was worth it in those final two seconds.
Riemersma knocked down his first 3-pointer of the night with two seconds remaining in overtime to give Westfield (2-2, 1-1) a 53-50 win at Lafayette Jeff (2-3, 0-1).
“It definitely paid off,” Riemersma said. “I expected to come in and shoot. It didn’t go my way early in the game, but I just tried to stay ready. I guess those shots in the morning paid off.”
Riemersma was open for the game-winning shot because Jeff was focused on shutting down Westfield senior guard Ajay Lawton (10 points) and junior guard Ty Osswald (19 points).
“We wanted to keep the ball out of (Osswald’s) hands and we didn’t want (Lawton) to beat us, and we did both of those things,” Jeff coach Scott Radeker said. “(Riemersma) stepped up and hit a big shot. There’s not much we can do about it.”
The shot concluded a back-and-forth affair that saw Jeff claw its way back after trailing for most of regulation.
It was the Bronchos who got the first clutch shot from a reserve guard. Jeff junior guard Devin Haney (7 points) made a turnaround jumper with 0.7 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
Despite the fact that Jeff led for less than a minute during regulation, there was no doubt who had the advantage heading into the extra frame.
“They had all the momentum at the end of the game, and we had to just stay together and fight through adversity,” Riemersma said. “I think we did a great job of not pointing fingers and just staying together.”
A little teamwork is exactly what Westfield needed, especially from its lone returning player, Lawton. The senior started out the game with nine first-quarter points to go along with two assists.
But junior guard Quarin Hood (17 points, 5 of 5 free throws) and senior forward Lucas Wallace (7 points, 5 rebounds) led a defensive attack that allowed Westfield’s leading scorer just one point after the first quarter.
“Defensively, I have no complaints,” Radeker said. “We did a good job on Lawton, keeping him out of the paint. Really, everybody did, not just the guy on the ball.”
Westfield’s final play was an isolation for Lawton. But instead of forcing up a double-teamed jumper, the senior dished to a wide-open Riemersma for the game-winner.
“This is a real bad loss for us, but we made great improvements from last game and that’s what we’re thinking about,” said Hood. “The kid stepped up and made a big shot. What can you say about it?”
It wasn’t the way Jeff wanted to start its Hoosier Crossroads Conference slate. But for Westfield, the first conference win was the momentum boost it was looking for.
“We just kept plugging away,” Westfield coach Eric Rauch said. “It wasn’t pretty, but it’s a huge win for us to get back to .500 in conference. We’re the king of close games right now.”