After a closely contested first half, the Southwestern (Shelby) boys basketball team went on an 11-0 run behind three 3-pointers to take a 51-39 lead with 1:45 left in the third quarter. The Spartans hung on to beat Trinity Lutheran 75-56 on Tuesday.
In the first quarter, Cougars senior Toby VanLiew had the hot hand, scoring 10 points.
Cougars senior Luke Stuckwisch also buried two 3-pointers, but the Spartans led 23-16 after eight minutes of play.
Bryce Rowe led the Spartans in the opening minutes with 12 points (including two 3-pointers).
The Spartans knocked down five shots from behind the arc in the first quarter and added three more in the second as they led 38-33 heading into intermission.
The Cougars’ Daniel Horton came up with the first basket following halftime, and Stuckwisch added another 3-pointer to tie the game at 38-all at the 7:03 mark.
However, the Spartans then went on their 11-0 run, and the Cougars would only net two more points before the final eight minutes.
One of the biggest issues the Cougars faced was the outside shooting from the Spartans.
“(Our plan) was to go man defense,” Cougars coach Aaron Rudzinski said. “We wanted to contain their shooters, man up and not get beat so we didn’t have to help. They had open looks all night. They had some tough shots they made in that first half that probably would have gone in against any defense.”
Foul trouble played against the Cougars in the fourth quarter. The Cougars amassed 13 infringements by the very end of the second half, and the Spartans capitalized by going 18-22 from the line.
Rowe led the Spartans with 26 points on four made 3-pointers and Stuckwisch finished the high-man for the Cougars with 16 points.
The Spartans finished upwards of 65 percent shooting on the night, according to one of their scorekeepers.
“We had a hard time stopping their shooters tonight. The second half we tried to change things up and apply more pressure and not let them catch the ball.”
On Friday, the Cougars (8-3) will host Shawe Memorial.