By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
After a pair of tough losses to Wayne County and Pulaski County last week, the Southwestern Warriors concluded the 2012-13 regular season with a dominant, 84-57 victory over Mercer County on Thursday night at the Wigwam.
Ten different Southwestern players got their names in the scorebook in the Senior Night victory over the visiting Titans. Of the ten players who scored for the Warriors, five of them finished with double figures.
Other than a lull in the second quarter, a frame that saw the visiting Titans outscore the Warriors by five points, it was pretty much Southwestern doing the domination, which pleased second-year head coach Steve Wright.
“There in the second quarter, we had a two- or three-minute stretch where I didn’t think we played well, but the rest of the game, we played pretty good,” began Wright. “Our offense is getting pretty balanced, as we’re scoring both from the inside and outside.”
“We’ve been really working hard these past two weeks, and I think you can see evidence of that. As coaches, we felt like we saw everything that we have been working on tonight. I thought it was just a really good team win for us.”
It was evident that the Warriors have indeed been working hard at practice, as they raced out to a 28-12 first quarter lead over Mercer County. In part to a 7-0 run and a 6-0 run, along with forcing the Titans into ten turnovers, Southwestern led by 16 points after one quarter in the books.
In the opening frame, junior Justin Edwards tallied 12 points, while sophomore Dylan Gaskin chimed in with eight points to help catapult the ‘Blue and Orange’ ahead. Junior David Kapinga knocked down a pair of three-pointers to end the first period.
The Titans had a strong second frame, as they outscored Southwestern by five points at 20-15. Despite being outscored by Mercer County, Wright and the Warriors into the locker room with an 11-point, 43-32 advantage at the intermission.
Led by nine points from Edwards, the Warriors outscored Mercer County by a 28-13 margin in the third stanza. After three quarters of play, Southwestern led the Titans, 84-57.
Edwards finished with a game-high 23 points, along with a club-high eight rebounds. Justin Schulz, playing in his final game at the Wigwam, along with finished with 12 points. Kapinga and sophomore Adam Isaacs chimed with double figures, scoring 11 points and ten points, respectively.
For Mercer County, Russell Sims finished with a team-high 17 points.
Four Warrior seniors played their final game at the Wigwam Thursday night - Brad Estes, Javonte Groves, Lucas Mullins, and Schulz. The senior quartet would all score in the 27-point victory.
“They have all made major contributions to the team,” Wright said. “Brad’s worked really hard to lose weight, and even though he doesn’t score a lot of points, he’s a big presence inside. Javonte is a really good defensive player for us and a very good role player coming off the bench. Schulz has been a mainstay here since his sophomore year. Lucas is a guy that everyone on the team looks up to.”
Southwestern will bring a 19-8 record into the postseason, which means gets underway Monday night at Monticello High School.
The Warriors, the number-two seed, will play their opening round game on Tuesday evening, when they will face McCreary Central at 7 p.m. Top seed Wayne County and Monticello will open up the tournament on Monday night.
MC - 12 20 13 12 - 57
SW - 28 15 28 7 - 84
MERCER COUNTY (15-11): Sims 17, Ingram 11, Hager 9, Pennington 6, Duncan 5, Price 4, Warren 3, Ellis 1, Cox 1.
SOUTHWESTERN (19-): Edwards 23, Schulz 12, Gaskin 12, Kapinga 11, Isaacs 10, Collier 6, Perkins 4, Groves 3, Estes 2, Mullins 1.