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Western Toes the line to defeat Lafayette Jeff
February 13, 2013Lafayette Jefferson High School
A great night at the free throw line pushed Western past Lafayette Jeff 60-52 Tuesday night in a boys basketball game at Richard R. Rea Gymnasium.
The Bronchos hit all six of their free throw attempts, a statistic that paled in comparison to the 19-of-22 clip the Panthers shot from the line.
“Free throws, without a doubt, were huge,” Western coach Bart Miller said. “We were able to get to the line and hit down the stretch, and we only missed one free throw in the fourth quarter. That was big.”
Western (11-7) made 7 of 8 during the final minute to pull away from a one-point edge.
“We didn’t make enough plays to win. That’s the bottom line,” said Jeff coach Scott Radeker, whose Bronchos were missing leading scorer and rebounder Tyler Buchanan. “We just didn’t handle situations well at the end of the game.”
Jeff (7-12), which committed just four turnovers, turned the ball over twice while missing a pair of shots on its final four possessions. The Panthers turned each of those missed opportunities into points at the free throw line.
“We took a 3 when we were down by one, so the shot selection was a little disappointing,” Radeker said. “That’s stuff we work on every day in practice, a minute to go or 40 seconds to go and down by three, but in the end it just didn’t go our way.”
In a game of 20 lead changes and four ties, the final swing went Western’s way when Des Balentine knocked down back-to-back shots to turn a 45-44 deficit into a 49-45 advantage with 4:30 to play.
Balentine, a quiet 1 of 7 from the field over the first three quarters, scored 10 of his team-high 15 points in the fourth. He knocked down three of four free throws in the fourth quarter while junior guard Evan Warden was 4 of 4 at the line.
“When the game is on the line, it’s nice to have guys like Des and Evan to close out a game,” Miller said.
Ronnie Smith finished with 13 points, while Warden and Austin Weaver each scored 11. Austin Townsend had 10 points to go with nine rebounds.
Peter Ripke paced the Bronchos with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Darian Collins chipped in 11 points.