By ALEX McNAMEE
Effingham Daily News
Waltonville senior Justin Winchester made everything from three-point range in the first half and that’s how the Spartans were trying to win the game.
Winchester scored 15 points in the first half, all on 3-pointers, to single handedly keep the Spartans in a tight game, trailing 27-23 at halftime.
Dieterich balanced out its scoring in the second half en route to a 53-45 win at Saturday’s St. Anthony Shootout.
The two teams were locked into a shooting contest in the first half, which led the Spartans to an 18-11 lead in the second quarter.
Dieterich’s Alex Bohnhoff made one of his three 3-pointers to give the Movin’ Maroons a 19-18 lead with 3:44 to go in the quarter and sank another with two seconds left to give them a 27-23 halftime lead.
Tanner Traub also made two 3-pointers in the first half for Dieterich.
“The ball is going in for them right now,” Dieterich head coach Jeff Staser said. “They were giving us the three.”
At halftime, 21 of Dieterich’s 27 points were scored beyond the arc. Waltonville scored 18 of its 23 points in the same way.
Turnovers proved costly to Waltonville in the third quarter, as Dieterich took a 38-26 lead in the fourth quarter and finished off the win.
“Turnovers have been the story all year,” Waltonville head coach Brian Gamber said. “Their length and athleticism really wore us down.”
Dieterich’s post players went to work in the second half. Travis Niemerg scored seven of his nine points in the last two quarters. Devin Aherin scored eight points.
Staser said his team wasn’t as good defensively on Saturday as it has been all season.
He said it was a challenge to play a game at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, after having five days off a school because of weather conditions.
But the defense tracked Winchester better in the second half, after giving up 15 points in the first 16 minutes.
Dieterich held Winchester to six points in the second half, all which came in the fourth quarter, as Waltonville only scored three points in the third quarter.
As the Maroons moved into a 2-2-1 press in the second half, Gamber said he thought his team could be successful against it.
He said he thought his team would get some easy buckets by pushing passes up court for easy layups.
That wasn’t how it happened.
“We played too passive, had some bad passes,” Gamber said. “We have some young kids. I thought we were going to be able to get over that hump a little, but we just tried to force things that weren’t there. You can’t have wasted possessions.”
Dylan Miller scored 12 points for the Spartans and Austin Zahm added 10.