Whitmer's quickness gave the Northview Wildcats fits last night, especially in the third quarter.
But the Panthers had no remedy for the post play of Northview, which built a big lead and held on for a 69-56 Division I boys basketball sectional final victory at Springfield.
Northview (19-3) advances to a district semifinal at Springfield at 6:30 p.m. Thursday against St. John's Jesuit (18-3), which defeated Southview 64-45 in the first sectional final.
“We're looking forward to that matchup, against another City League school,” said Northview coach Dennis Shoemaker, whose team upset Libbey in the semifinals. ``I think we match up very well against them.
“It's going to be a war. Hopefully, we can come in and compete well and get it done.”
The Wildcats got it done last night on the backs of post players Steve Horner, Ryan Vinciguerra, Charles Wynn and supersub Kevin Burnett. That foursome combined for 60 of Northview's 69 points.
Horner led the way with 20 points and eight rebounds. When he had to sit with foul troubles for much of the second quarter and half of the second half, Burnett filled his shoes. Burnett contributed 17 points and four rebounds off the bench.
“When you get 37 points out of one position, you win,” said Whitmer coach Bruce Smith, whose team bowed out at 12-10. “We just couldn't cover them.”
That was evident in the first half, when Horner was unstoppable, scoring 16 of his points and grabbing his rebounds.
Northview led 17-8 after one quarter and 37-23 at the half.
The third quarter, however, was a different story. With Whitmer guards Gerald Fletcher and Ted Waka creating havoc, the Panthers outscored the Wildcats 16-7 and cut the lead to five, 44-39.
“There are two things you can do when you're down big to a good team,” Smith said. “You can pack it in or play as hard as you can. We all agreed to play as hard as we could, and we cut that lead. But we, obviously, couldn't sustain it.”
Instead, Burnett grew as hot as Horner had been, netting 14 of his points in the fourth quarter, and Northview rebuilt its lead.
“Luckily, Burnett came in and did a lot of scoring for us. He's become a very valuable part of this team. He keeps coming in and giving us big minutes,” Shoemaker said.
Vinciguerra and Wynn added 12 and 11 points, respectively, for Northview.
Waka paced Whitmer with 12 points and 10 rebounds, Fletcher finished with 11 and Tyler Waite added 10.
Northview made 26 of 48 shots from the field, while the Panthers were 19-of-49. The Wildcats outrebounded Whitmer 30-27 and each team had 15 turnovers.
ST. JOHN'S JESUIT 64 SOUTHVIEW 45
A flurry of turnovers in the first quarter put Southview (7-15) in a huge hole. Another flurry after halftime ended any chance the Cougars might have had.
St. John's trapping defense led to nine Southview turnovers in the first eight minutes, and the Titans stormed to a 17-5 advantage.
The Cougars lost the ball eight more times in the third quarter and were outscored 21-5 as St. John's rolled to a 52-27 lead.
“We've had some success trapping (the ball),” Titans coach Ed Heintschel said. “It just breaks the rhythm of the other team.
“It's not foolproof; you end up giving up some things. But we did generate some turnovers, and that's what we wanted to do.”
The result of those turnovers in the third quarter included three dunks by 6-4 St. John's senior Ryan Taylor. His third put the Titans ahead 49-27.
“We talked at halftime about getting the intensity back up,” Taylor said, “and we came out strong. It gave us a big lift.
“It always feels good (to dunk), and it gets my teammates going and the crowd into it.”
Southview rallied to outscore the Titans 17-14 in the second quarter - thanks to junior Nate Smith's 4-of-5 shooting for 8 points - and 18-12 in the fourth, but the damage had been done.
John Floyd had 8 of his 10 points in the first quarter to get St. John's going. Taylor and Todd Thomas contributed 11 points apiece as 11 Titans scored. Smith and Matt Rheinecker scored 12 apiece to lead the Cougars, who had 20 turnovers to St. John's 13.
St. John's was 20-of-48 from the field. Southview was 13-of-38.
BRITTON 48, DEERFIELD 43
ADRIAN, Mich. - Jon Servoss had 15 points to lead Britton (11-10) in the first round of the Class D district tournament.
Nick Langmeyer had 13 points and Bobby Plumer 12 for Deerfield (14-7).
Ida 74, Allen Park Cabrini 55
DUNDEE, Mich. - Craig Kreps scored 17 points and Loren Feldpausch added 15 as Ida advanced in the Michigan Class C playoffs. Ida (16-5) plays Lutheran Westland tomorrow in the district semifinals.