West dominates in 77-57 win over Sault Ste. Marie
TRAVERSE CITY — Sault Ste. Marie trailed by double digits for all but 90 seconds Wednesday night.
That pretty much sums up Traverse City West's dominance in winning a Class A district semifinal 77-57 after jumping out to an early 14-0 lead.
"We knew we had to come out and hit them hard early," said Titans junior guard Stephan Sheppard, who finished with a team-high 20 points, including four 3-pointers. "We didn't want to come out with a slow start and have to work our way back into the game."
In the first minute, Alex Scott and Sheppard canned 3-pointers, and by the time 1:30 had ticked off the clock, West was up 10-0 on a Thiyo Lukusa inside bucket.
Before the first quarter's midpoint, the Titans had a 19-1 lead.
West increased its lead to 29 points on several occasions before the Blue Devils scored 13 of the final 15 points to make it look more respectable.
"We came out really aggressive," Scott said. "We got a few steals, caused turnovers in their end. We had a really hot stretch there where we really just couldn't miss. Tristan (Roman) and Stephen were hitting everything."
West (11-10) moves on the district final, visiting Big North Conference champion Alpena (20-1) in Friday's title game.
"They give us a lot of match-up problems," Scott said. "They're a really strong team. Andrew Marwede, he's the best player in the BNC this year. They got the better of us two times, but we're looking to turn the tables on them at their place."
The Titans started the season slowly, going 2-7. Since then, West is 9-3. Two of those losses have been to Alpena, a 72-55 road setback on Feb. 4 and a tight 72-70 overtime nail-biter on Feb. 17.
"We're excited to get another crack at Alpena," Titans coach Greg Immink said. "Andy Marwede is the leading scorer in the conference at close to 20 points a game. He's a problem for everybody. Tyler Pintar is one of the best point guards in the league. That duo is a serious scoring combination."