A big second half turned a tight game into a blowout as Lebanon took Willamette to task in their nonleague boys basketball game.
Isaac Garber led the Warriors with 25 points, 12 in the third quarter, as Lebanon blew out the Wolverines 74-44.
“Our big guys played big on the offensive and defensive ends and our guards played smart,” coach Joe Williamson said.
Lebanon jumped out, scoring five points in the first minute but had trouble finding the basket through the middle of the quarter. John Bates, who held a distinct height advantage over the Wolverines, could not get his shot to fall.
That’s when Williamson sent Tyler Funk into the lineup. Funk did not score in the quarter but had three steals and a pair of rebounds to provide some energy for the Warriors in the first as they took a six-point lead at the end of the quarter.
“I was just playing my game. Offense isn’t my biggest game but everything I can do for the team, I’ll do it,” Funk said.
Lebanon continued to miss the mark from deep but was able to establish an offense from the post. The Warriors drove to the basket and picked up fouls as they kept constant pressure on Willamette’s defense.
Willamette made an adjustment coming out of halftime. Rather than trying to stay with Lebanon man-to-man, the Wolverines sat back in a zone and dared the Warriors to shoot over the top of the defense.
“Teams might try to do that but we have a lot of shooters. They went zone and we saw that as an opportunity,” Williamson said.
The Warriors took advantage, converting on a trio of threes. Two of them came from Garber as the Warriors began to pull away from Willamette.
“We practice it a lot,” Garber said, “We get movement up top and defenses forget about me. I just go to the corner and my teammates find me.”
Five Warriors scored in the third, paced by Garber’s 12 as Lebanon blew open a tight game into a 15 point lead.
The fourth belonged to Bates as he scored eight of his 13 in the fourth quarter. With Williamson emptying his bench, several Warriors got looks at the basket and converted as seven players scored down the stretch.
Last season the Warriors made it to the first round of the state tournament before getting bounced by Churchill, but Garber said the team is looking to get a state title this year.
“Our chemistry is a lot better and I think we’re more focused and hungrier than last year,” he said.