Posted on March 22, 2014 at 8:54 p.m.
| Updated on March 22, 2014 at 10:56 p.m.
HUNTINGTON — Just like many in their community often do, the Westview Warriors hooked up the horses and rode of one selfless, hard-working mind to their destination.
Just ask Jon Kitchel.
"Too many big and strong horses for us," the Cass coach said after the Warriors ended his Kings' state-best 20-game winning streak with a 65-58 victory in the Class 2A boys basketball northern semistate Saturday, March 22, at Huntington North High School.
"We have faced bigger bigs than them, but I don't think two at once like (Chandler) Aspy and (Judah Zickafoose)," Kitchel said. "They're athletic, agile bigs, they're part of a team that plays together, and Aspy, he's just a load."
As is typically the case, so was unrelenting, 5-foot-10 senior point guard Jordyn Bontrager, flirting with a triple-double as he sliced and diced the Kings to the tune of 18 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," Bontrager said of advancing to the State Finals, "but it just shows how good of a team we are, how much we've battled."
Aspy, a 6-3 junior, continually riddled smaller Cass with his post moves, scoring a team-high 19 points and grabbing eight rebounds before fouling out with 1:10 left and Westview up 59-54.
"It was our plan from the start to get it inside," Aspy said. "Their tallest guy is 6-3 and their tallest starter is 6-1. We executed really well."
Senior guard Jamar Weaver added 14 points and was 4-of-6 on 3-pointers as the Warriors put their all-around attack on full display.
Unranked Westview (23-4) advanced to its third state title game and first since claiming back-to-back crowns in 1999 and 2000.
The Warriors will face No. 1-ranked Indianapolis Park Tudor (23-4), led by Mr. Basketball candidate and state scoring leader Trevon Bluiett, on Saturday, March 29, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The game is slated for about 12:45 p.m., following the 10:30 a.m 1A final.
"We're playing the last (2A) game of the season. I'd say that's a pretty good season," Westview coach Rob Yoder said. "I'm just really happy for the kids. They've worked hard and it's good to see them rewarded for it."
"I'm on top of the world right now, on top of the world," a grinning Zickafoose said after contributing eight points, including a thunderous dunk, to the cause.
The No. 7-ranked Kings closed at 22-3.
Senior guard Austin Keisling led Cass with 20 points, a bit above his 18.4 averaging going in, while freshman Evan Ohman came off the bench to score twice his average with 12 points.
However, slashing guards Ryan Bixler and Blake Hadley, averaging a combined 28.2, were limited to just nine apiece while going a combined 7-of-21 from the field.
"Our ability to stop their penetration," Yoder said of what pleased him most about his team's effort. "(Cass is) so good at getting to the middle of the lane and finishing. We made a little adjustment to our defense that we think helpled us today."
"We're used to getting to the free throw line a lot with our penetration," said Kitchel, whose team was averaging 25 attempts per game, but finished 10-of-13 Saturday, "Westview just sagged inside a bit, and when we couldn't get in there, we made some poor decisions, and shot it a little more poorly than we have."
The Kings were just 22-of-55 from the field for 40 percent to the Warriors' 26-of-47 for 55 percent, accounting for the difference on a day that each team made four triples and finished just one apart on made free throws.
The Warriors took the lead for good at 15-14 on the opening basket of the second quarter. They stretched the advantage to 29-19 by halftime.
In the second half, Westview led by as many as 11, early in the third quarter, but the Kings closed to within two points late in the period and to within three points four times.
The last was at 54-51 in the fourth quarter, but Weaver answered by draining a right-wing 3-pointer at the 1:41 mark off a timeout for a 57-51 count.
"That was the back-breaker," said Kitchel, whose team got no closer than five the rest of the way, and never with the ball.