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Local Sports

Fighting Irish heat up to pull away from Woodland for TCC triumph

SENECA — The visiting Woodland Warriors led for most of the first quarter and stuck with the host Seneca Fighting Irish throughout the first half of the resumed rivals' Tri-County Conference meeting Friday night.

Then Seneca started making its shots.

After missing their first seven tries from the field and shooting 22.6 percent (7-of-31) in the opening two quarters, the Fighting Irish opened the second half connecting on nine of their first 10 attempts to pull away to a convincing 59-33 TCC triumph here in Seneca.

"At halftime, I said we probably counted four bad shots the first half. We just didn't shoot the ball well," said Seneca coach Russell Witte, his Fighting Irish now 10-8 overall (4-1 Tri-County). "We didn't really make any adjustments other than wanting to be a little crisper passing the basketball, get our short-corner touches and post touches, and once we started doing that, that makes the outside wide open.

"The difference in the halves, really, was just that we started to make shots."

Four Seneca starters reached double digits in scoring — Connor Greve with 16 points, five rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots; Sam Grushkin with a double-double of 11 points, 13 rebounds and three steals; Nate Armbrust with 11 points as well; and Brody Baudino with 10 points and three steals.

Zakk Gonnam came off the bench to add three points and a game-high three assists as Seneca warmed up after the chilly shooting start to finish 39.6 percent (21-of-53) from the field and force 28 Woodland turnovers with man-to-man defense early and its trademark 1-3-1 ballpress as the game wore on.

"We didn't start off in (the ballpress)," Witte said. "We've been mixing in a little more man-to-man as we go on, and we kind of figured (Woodland) had been practicing for the ballpress for some time now. We wanted to give them a different look to start out with."

The Irish advantage first reached double digits (28-18) with 6:19 to play in the third on a Baudino reverse layup off a Grushkin assist, then hit 20 points (43-23) less than four minutes later on Greve's going-glass mid-range jumper.

"I think we really competed well the first half," said Warriors coach Connor Kaminke, his club now 6-13 overall, 3-2 in the loop. "The defense was pretty good in the first half, and that allowed (Seneca) to get a little cold from the field.

"But like you said, they came out in the third quarter shooting the ball very well, and obviously turnovers were a big issue tonight. Give some credit to their defense. We were making some careless passes, but their defense kind of dictated that."

Nate Carby — whose first-quarter free throws gave WHS what would prove to be its biggest lead of the game at 5-1 — scored eight points to lead Woodland, as its usual leading scorer Kyle Voytko was limited to just three points on 1-of-7 shooting.

Trevor Derossett added five points, while both Tyler Jenkins and Tommy Kress scored six — with Kress adding a team-high five rebounds — for a Warriors squad limited to 31.3-percent (10-of-32) shooting and outrebounded 34-23.

"Tommy's done fantastic over these past couple weeks. I can't say enough about him," said Kaminke, who also mentioned before the game he hopes starting senior forward Collin Hjerpe will be able to return from injury next week. "Now it's just trying to get 13 other guys to play with that much intensity and that much passion (as Kress has recently).

"I think we all have spurts. It's just trying to find that happy medium of everybody playing a full 32 minutes. I thought the first half (tonight) was pretty good for us. Then some things just caught up to us in the second half."

--

At Seneca

Seneca 59, Woodland 33

(Key: FG-FGA FT-FTA TP)

WOODLAND (33) — Voytko 1-7 0-0 3, Jenkins 1-5 3-5 6, Carby 2-4 4-4 8, Kress 3-3 0-1 6, Miller 1-4 0-0 3, Derossett 1-5 3-6 5, Simpson 0-0 0-0 0, Ewing 0-1 0-0 0, Hunter 0-0 0-0 0, Cooper 0-1 0-0 0, Stimmel 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 10-32 10-16 33.

SENECA (59) — Krause 1-5 0-0 2, Greve 5-15 3-4 16, Armbrust 5-7 1-1 11, Baudino 4-7 2-2 10, Grushkin 4-10 3-5 11, Gonnam 1-3 0-0 3, Punke 0-1 0-0 0, Carey 0-2 2-2 2, Thorsen 0-1 0-0 0, Cahill 0-0 0-0 0, Thomas 1-1 0-0 2, VanNess 0-0 0-2 0, Pena 0-1 0-0 0, O'Boyle 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 21-53 13-18 59.

Woodland (6-13, 3-2) 7 9 12 5 — 33

Seneca (10-8, 4-1) 8 13 24 14 — 59

3-point goals - Woodland 3-13 (Miller 1-2, Jenkins 1-4, Voytko 1-5, Derossett 0-2); Seneca 4-20 (Greve 3-10, Gonnam 1-3, Armbrust 0-1, Grushkin 0-1, Carey 0-1, Pena 0-1, Krause 0-3). Rebounds - Woodland 23 (Kress 5); Seneca 34 (Grushkin 13, Greve 5). Assists - Woodland 4 (Voytko 2); Seneca 12 (Gonnam 3). Steals - Woodland 11 (Voytko 3); Seneca 21 (Greve 4, Baudino 3, Grushkin 3). Blocked shots - Woodland 0; Seneca 4 (Greve 2, Grushkin 1, Cahill 1). Turnovers - Woodland 28; Seneca 16. Total fouls (none fouled out) - Woodland 17; Seneca 14.

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