ARCADIA – Westfield head coach Shane Sumpter made a change
to his starting lineup on Friday night. Based on the results of the game, the
change is likely to become a permanent one.
In his first start of the season, Westfield guard Aaron
Bennett tallied a double-double finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Bennett helped lead the Shamrocks to an exciting 66-61 victory at Hamilton
Heights High School, spoiling the Huskies senior night in the process.
“I might start him next game too,” Sumpter quipped after the
Bennett came out hot in the first half making 4-of-6 shots
from the field including 3-for-3 from 3-point range. The senior led all players
with 11 points and eight rebounds after two quarters.
Bennett had a good feeling in the run-up to the game.
“I came in right after school and shot, and I was feeling
it,” Bennett said after the game. “And then during warmups I felt like I
couldn’t miss. I thought the game would go well.”
To the outside observer, the 10 rebounds were maybe even
more impressive than the 18 points on five made three-pointers. Out of the
players that see the floor regularly, Bennett is Westfield’s shortest at 5’11.
His tenacity on the boards did not surprise Sumpter.
“You would never know it, but he’s one of our leading
rebounders,” Sumpter said. “He’s been that all year. He just has a nose for the
Another senior leader, forward Ian Kristensen, actually
ended the game as Westfield’s leading scorer. Kristensen finished with 20
points including a ferocious one-hand dunk in the fourth quarter.
The game between the Rocks and Huskies was tight throughout.
Huskies senior guard Caymn Lutz tied the game at 27 with a buzzer-beating
3-pointer to end the first half. After a strong third quarter, Westfield
entered the final period with a 43-37 advantage. The Rocks would extend their
lead to 12 at 56-44 with three minutes remaining thanks to the Kristensen slam.
But the Huskies made a furious push in the closing minutes
using an effective full-court press and a barrage of long-range makes. The
charge was spearheaded by senior Max Wahl who knocked down three 3-pointers and
scored 11 points in the final two minutes.
But in the end, it wasn’t enough as Westfield (5-13) held on
to the win. The Huskies (6-11) were led in scoring by senior forward Sterling
Weatherford who finished with 15.
Westfield hosts Western Boone on Tuesday. Heights next plays
at Lawrence North on Sunday.