By Paul Hines
CHRISTOPHER — Waltonville held off Wayne City 39-31 on Monday night to advance to the 1A regional semifinals.
Dylan Miller led Waltonville with 14 points, and Hunter Coggins finished with a dozen.
Wayne City's Billy Irwin led all scorers with 16 points with 13 coming in the opening half.
“We knew coming into it we were going to have to stay attached with him,” Waltonville coach Brian Gamber said. “I'll give him credit, he hit some big shots. Early in the year, he didn't shoot it well against us from the perimeter. So obviously he presented a bad matchup for us. We tried to back off him and make him shoot it from the perimeter.”
Waltonville's defense clamped down in the second half against the Indians. Wayne City hit just three field goals in the final two periods.
Both teams struggled down the stretch from the foul line. Waltonville hit enough of its free throws to keep Wayne City away but finished 17 of 32 for the game. Wayne City hit just six of 18 from the line.
“For tonight we got enough,” Gamber said. “And defensively, I thought we got some big stops even when he were making free throws.
“We had our guys that we wanted going to the line and come Wednesday I've got all the confidence that they're going to be able to knock those down.”
The game was close at the half with Wayne City claiming a 19-18 edge.
Waltonville attacked from the outside in the opening two periods. Justin Winchester and Hunter Coggins both connected to start the game and give the Spartans an early 6-0 edge. Wayne City chipped away at the early deficit and managed to tie the game at 10 after the opening quarter.
Irwin gave the Indians strong offense in the opening half with 13 points. He hit a trio of shots from beyond the arc in the first half.
Ryan Majewski led the Spartans with nine rebounds. Eight came in the second half.
“That's what his role needs to be and has been this year,” Gamber said. “He's done a good job of working on blocking out.”
Waltonville faces top seed Woodlawn on Wednesday night.
Christopher 66, Webber 32
The host Bearcats used a big second quarter to pad their lead and pull away from Webber.
Webber trailed 10-6 early in the second quarter before Christopher turned up its defense. The Bearcats were able to create several steals to jumpstart their offense. In a four minute span, Christopher went on a 16-4 run to build a double-digit lead it never lost.
“I was scared of (ball pressure) coming down here,” Webber coach Brad Beaty said. “We talked about it we worked on it.”
Jordan Wheeler finished with nine points to lead the Trojans. Jaxon Helm added six, and Zane Austin finished with five.
Christopher's lead surpassed 30 points late in the final quarter after taking a 32-13 edge into halftime.
Webber finished the game winless.
“I thought the last two weeks we really made strides,” Beaty said. “We really covered ground the last two weeks as far as kind of starting to turn that corner.”
Christopher faces Sesser-Valier in Wednesday's semifinal.