by Beau Wicker
Winamac boys basketball coach Kyle Johnson has been preaching patience with his young squad all season.
The Warriors put it all together in their sectional opener against arch-rival North Judson on Wednesday night.
The Warriors bombarded the Bluejays with 3-pointers all night and won going away, 73-52, in a game that was not as close as the final score.
Winamac (9-12) put four players in double figures and shot a collective 11 of 22 from 3-point range for the game.
Parker Fox came off the bench and led the way for the Warriors with 16 points, six rebounds, two steals and seven defensive deflections.
Zach Shidler scored 13 points and was 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. J.T. Garnett had 13 points and was 4 of 7 from downtown. Adam Gruenig had 12 points on 4 of 8 from distance.
“The hoop was really wide it felt like,” said Shidler, who said his team simply picked up from where it left off in the regular season. “Beating Rensselaer last Friday, that felt good. It got us going coming into sectional and I think it just continued.”
The Warriors led us much as 31 points at 67-36 with just under five minutes left in the game.
Ten of the 12 Warriors who played in the contest got in the scoring column. But Johnson focused on his squad’s defensive and rebounding effort.
“I’m just very happy with the defensive effort, and our rebounding was better than it’s been all year,” Johnson said. “If we want any chance at success in this tournament, we’ve got to rebound.
“I’m just proud of how our guys played. Every one of our guys that played did positive things on both ends of the court.”
Jacob Shabi and Dalton Bailey each scored 12 points to lead the Bluejays (6-15). Tim Stasiek was also in double figures with 10.
Winamac ended a 13-game losing streak to Judson earlier this season. The Warriors’ last win prior to that was a sectional game in 2006.
Both regular-season games were decided by a total of three points, but the sectional game was no contest.
“It felt really good, especially the last five years they’ve really put it to us,” Shidler said. “My sophomore year they beat us in the sectional championship game right here on this floor, so it felt good to give them a little payback.”
Earlier this month Judson won at Winamac 44-43.
“The second game, we looked at the film and we thought they just flat-out outhustled us,” Shidler said. “So we wanted to come out and outhustle them, and I think we did a pretty good job with that. And it helps when your shots are going down like they were.”
Winamac faces Hebron (9-10) at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in a semifinal game. Rochester (7-14), which defeated North Newton 59-48 on Wednesday, faces Boone Grove (12-8) in the later semifinal.