Masuk puts Weston boys hoops' playoff plans on hold
The Weston boys basketball team will have to wait at least another game to clinch a Class M playoff berth.
Host Masuk temporarily put Weston's playoff plans on hold with a 61-41 victory over the Trojans on Tuesday to raise its record to 8-4, 4-2 in the SWC and avenge its 60-56 non-league loss at the Trojans on Dec, 22. The Trojans dropped to 7-4, 4-2 in the SWC.
Trojans Coach Ryan Errico was aware early of Masuk's ability. He said, "Masuk has very good guards. We must contain them, and we need to execute, if we are going to win."
The Panthers opened with a full court press and their speedy guards moved up and down the court in controlling the tempo of the game.
Weston's first score came on a nifty half court pass from senior captain Dennis Levene to speeding junior Cole Rosemann for two. Rosemann tallied six first quarter points and Masuk ended the first quarter with a 16-11 lead.
The Trojans picked it up in the second quarter with the 6-6 Levene leading the way to erase Masuk's 19-13 lead. He shot free for a fast break dunk that impressed everyone in the Panther gym, which energized his teammates and also made a reverse layup and a short jumper.
With 38 seconds left in the half, Levene was fouled on a slicing drive and made both free throws to give Weston a 23-22 lead. He ended the half with 10 of his team-leading 17 points. The game was tied 23-23 at the half and things were looking up for the Trojans as they went to the locker room.
Both teams picked up their defense in the third quarter -- especially Masuk --who ended the quarter with a 33-29 lead. The Panthers limited the Trojans to six points in the quarter and Levene didn't score until he hit two free throws with 48.4 left.
A scoring drought struck the Trojans at the start of the fourth quarter with numerous shots rolling off the rim. To their credit, the Panthers stepped it up inside and kept Weston from following up on missed opportunities.
It was at 5:24 when senior captain Andrew Baron scored Weston's first points of the quarter to make it 40-31. A minute later, Baron was fouled but missed both free throws. Trojan senior Jeff Evanier hit a 3-pointer with 1:50 left to make it 55-36.
Weston's fate was sealed and with just over a minute left in the game Errico cleared the bench and let some of his reserves get some playing time.