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Boys basketball: Kouts comes up big in 3rd; 21st Century rolls

Updated: April 7, 2014 1:33PM



VALPARAISO — It certainly wasn’t part of the Kouts gameplan to have big man Matt Stewart watching most of the third quarter from the bench with three fouls. But seniors Cody Nelson and Jacob Bekelya made sure that the Mustangs’ had no problem with the adjustment.

That Kouts duo combined for 22 points in a decisive third quarter, as Kouts knocked off PCC rival Westville 69-57 in the Class 1A Morgan Township sectional.

“We finally got some stops,” Kouts (16-4) coach Matt Crawford said of that third quarter. “In the first half, Westville was getting into the paint on us. Once we got a few stops in a row, Jake and Cody were able to get out and run a little bit.”

Westville (13-9) held a 16-11 lead after one quarter before Kouts’ defense started preventing dribble penetration in the second quarter, leading to a 24-20 halftime lead for the Mustangs.

But that third quarter was all about the two Kouts seniors. Bekelya had 13 of his game-high 30 points in the period while Nelson added nine more — he would finish with 22.

A four-point halftime margin was pushed to 14 by Kouts in the third. Westville’s Shawn Gerron — who led the Blackhawks with 17 points — scored eight straight points to bring his team within six later in the half, but Kouts responded with seven unanswered points to move the lead back into double digits where it remained for the rest of the game.

Gary 21st Century, the defending sectional champion, rode an electric start to an 80-51 win over Morgan Township in the first game of the night.

The Cougars scored the game’s first 15 points and never looked back, leading 32-20 at halftime and breaking the game open further by outscoring the host Cherokees 23-10 in the third.

“I don’t know who those guys were,” 21st Century head coach Rodney Williams said with a laughed after the game. “That’s what we’ve been working toward all season: putting four quarters together. I think we did that tonight.”

Eugene German led the Cougars with 30 points, while Morgan Township’s Jacob Koselke led his team with 24.



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