WINSTED — No. 1 Northwestern beat No. 8 Lewis Mills 58-35 in a Division IV boys basketball quarterfinal Monday night following the same pattern as the teams’ two previous Berkshire League meeings, right down to an identical score a month ago.
“Three different game plans, three identical outcomes,” said a dejected Lewis Mills coach Jim Barone.
“We match up well against them,” said Highlander senior captain Zack Penn. “Their best player is (junior center) Josh Schibi. When we can shut him down, we’re rolling.”
“(Schibi’s) a good player,” said Northwestern coach Doug Sebach.
On the other side, Penn is a 6-4 active wide-body with lots of help keeping the slender 6-5 Schibi on the perimeter.
Penn and 6-2 forward Ben North started the game on fire, racing the Highlanders out to a 21-7 lead by the end of the first quarter with super-active drives to the hoop and a 3-pointer apiece from the perimeter.
“We all just try to pick each other up,” said North, alternating with Penn between great assists and sprints to the basket.
North had nine points in the first quarter on the way to 18 for the game. Penn had 10 on his way to 24.
Throw in 10 blue-collar points from wide-body forward Jayson Reola, and a mix of fast-break points from guard Mike Oley, and any team is hard-pressed to come up with the right game plan to stop the Highlanders.
Northwestern also plays defense, holding a normally high-powered Mills offense to seven first-quarter points and eight for the game from Schibi.
Spartans Kyle Alvarez, Jackson Lord and Joe Neary split up 10, 8 and 7 more Mills points while Northwestern’s increasing margin came to 32-18 at the half and 46-28 after three quarters.
The Highlanders move on to a semifinal game Wednesday against No. 5 Kolbe Cathedral at a neutral site to be decided.
No. 1 Northwestern 58, No. 8 Lewis Mills 35
Lewis Mills 7 11 10 7 – 35
Northwestern 21 11 14 12 – 58
Lewis Mills (35): Matt Gilbert 0-0-0; Cam Baiardi 1-0-2; Kyle Alvarez 4-2-10; Joe Neary 2-2-7; Jackson Lord 3-1-8; Josh Schibi 3-0-8; Totals: 13-5-35.
Northwestern (58): Jayson Reola 4-2-10; Ben North 7-1-18; Mike Oley 3-0-6; Liam Duran 0-0-0; Mike Neumann 0-0-0; Zack Penn 9-3-24; Totals: 23-6-58.
3-point goals: LM – Neary; Lord; Schibi 2. NW – North 3; Penn 3.
Halftime score: Northwestern 32, Lewis Mills 18
Records: Lewis Mills 18-7; Northwestern 22-3.