WHERE ARE THEY NOW
February 25, 2013Rossville Middle High School
Justus Stanback shoots over a trio of Rossville defenders for two of his 23 points in West Lafayette's 66-46 win over Rossville Friday night. / Brent Drinkut/Journal & Courier
Justus Stanback was a long, gangly sophomore when he first started earning varsity minutes for West Lafayette.
Three years later, the 6-foot-9 Red Devil senior has become an unstoppable force. His hard work and dedication are emulated by the seven-player West Lafayette senior class that put the first of what it hopes will be several everlasting marks on the program Friday night.
Led by IUPUI recruit Stanback’s 23 points, six rebounds and six blocks, West Lafayette completed a perfect season at Berberian Gymnasium with a 66-46 victory over Rossville.
“With Justus, the sky is the limit. In three years, he is going to be a monster,” WL coach David Wood said of the first Division I scholarship player he’s coached in 19 years with the Red Devils.
The victory was the 250th in Wood’s career and also marked the first time Wood has coached a team that finished unblemished at home (9-0).
“Coach Wood was stressing to get that done so we could be motivated (going into the sectional),” Stanback said.
With senior Jay Chapman and freshman point guard Nai Carlisle home sick, the Red Devils overcame a sluggish defensive start to go on a late first-half run and continue that into the second half.
Stanback and Brian Bangs scored 12 of WL’s 14 second-quarter points, helping the Red Devils extend a six-point lead after the first quarter to 34-25 at halftime.
Bangs opened the second half with a 3 and dunked a lob pass from Brody Forbes before Tory Eger’s 3-pointer and a Stanback jumper, and the rout was on.
“They’ve got four really good shooters — actually five, because Carslisle wasn’t there,” Rossville coach Dave Mosson said. “A lot of times we didn’t get out on them, and they are pretty deadly when you leave them open.”
Austin Miller made four 3-pointers in the first half, helping the Hornets (10-11) stay within striking distance before the Red Devils outscored Rossville 18-8 in the third period. Miller led Rossville with 18 points.
“We have more than just one or two main scorers,” said Bangs, who scored 18 points and had six rebounds. “We have many people who can score the basketball.”
West Lafayette (16-5) used its height advantage to outrebound the Hornets 35-28, led by junior William Mbongo’s 11 boards. Caleb Shinn added six rebounds, matching Stanback and Bangs.
“(Mbongo) pursues the ball better than anyone on our team, with the exception of Caleb,” Bangs said. “They are about the same. He gets up there and somehow comes down with it, even if he has two guys hanging all over him.”
The Red Devils now enter the Class 3A, Sectional 20 as tournament favorites. With wins in four of their last five games, the lone loss on a buzzer-beater at Harrison, they’ll hope to ride their hot streak.
“We just need to take the momentum from our defense and offense so we can do better against Northwestern,” Stanback said.