The West Ottawa Panthers and East Lansing Trojans, both one game away from the State Semifinals at the Breslin Center, met at historic Don Johnson Fieldhouse in Lansing on Tuesday night. For the third straight year, Michigan Sports Radio was on the call and for the third consecutive game it was a barn-burner. The Panthers and Trojans played a back and forth game, but a late surge by Xavier Wade carried the Panthers to a 58-55 victory.
These two teams spent a majority of the contest in zone defense, and this led to a very stagnant first quarter. The Trojans held a 14-9 lead, and most of the scoring on both ends came as a result of the three-point basket.
Both teams had multiple big runs in this game, and both teams answered the bell. For West Ottawa, it was Xavier Wade who had 20 points on the night. For the Trojans, they got big answers from Brandon Johns, the Mr. Basketball runner-up and future Michigan player. He finished the game with 19 points, including a three-pointer with about seven seconds to play. Unfortunately for East Lansing, they were out of timeouts and the clock never stopped allowing West Ottawa to emerge victorious by three.
The team defense played by West Ottawa to contain Johns, it is hard to completely stop a powerful player like him, and the two key players in that effort were Drew Pedersen and Nick Wehrmeyer. They held Johns to four points in the first half before he hit some very tough shots in the final sixteen minutes of play.
With the victory, West Ottawa advances to the Breslin Center to play in the Class A semifinals for the first time in program history. They will take on Novi, who advanced by defeating Belleville on Tuesday night. The other semifinal between Warren De La Salle and defending champion Clarkston starts at 12:00, and the second semifinal will begin at approximately 2:00. Tune in to the semifinals in Class A and Class B LIVE on Michigan Sports Radio on Friday as Dave Princer will be the play-by-play announcer leading the call.