STERLING – LaSalle-Peru’s game plan for Friday’s matchup with NIB-12 West rival Sterling was obvious – lock in defensively, muck up the game, and keep the Golden Warriors out of their transition offense.
For the most part, the Cavaliers succeeded. However, the Warriors adjusted on the fly with crisp ball movement to find gaps in the L-P defense en route to a 49-33 win at Musgrove
Sterling (10-5, 3-2 NIB-12) led 22-15 at halftime, but began the third quarter on a 7-2 run. Trevon Jordan tapped in a putback, Weston Sisson slashed into the lane for a layup, and Cooper Willman buried a 3 to boost the advantage into double digits.
“We came out and actually executed in the second half,” Sterling coach Ryan Vasquez said. “The kids figured out how to bring the energy, and executed down the stretch.”
With the game slipping away, LaSalle-Peru (6-10, 1-3 NIB-12) scored seven straight points. Zach Hartman hit a 3 from the top of the key and a pair of free throws, and Jakob Kupperschmid converted a layup.
Still, Sterling led 31-25 after three quarters, and found the finishing touches in the fourth.
Willman knocked down a corner 3, and found Aidan Shore for a layup to make it 40-27 Warriors with less than 5 minutes to play.
Sterling scored the final seven points of the first quarter to hold a 9-7 edge. Trevon Jordan made a layup and Isaiah Ryan canned a 3 from the top of the key to tie it, and Jordan went under the basket for a reverse layup to give the Warriors a lead they would not relinquish.
The Cavaliers committed five of their 12 turnovers in the first quarter, and went 9 minutes between buckets. The drought was ultimately snapped with 3:35 left in the second half on a 3 by sophomore guard Drake Weber.
L-P shot just 27 percent (11-for-41) from the field, but coach James Cherveny still liked what his team did on the offensive end.
“I don’t think Sterling’s defense really affected us,” Cherveny said. “They make it really hard to shoot over them with the big guys inside. But I actually thought we played well offensively.”
Weber led the Cavs in five different categories – points (13), 3-pointers (3), rebounds (6), assists (2) and steals (7). Elliot Tubbs tossed in 10 points and grabbed five boards.
Jordan scored 11 of his team-high 13 points in the first half for Sterling, taking advantage of limited transition opportunities.
“The big thing was running in transition before they could get their defense set up,” Jordan said. “It helped when they couldn’t set up in their zone.”
Jordan also pulled down 12 rebounds to wrap up a double-double. Shore scored all 12 of his points in the final 9 minutes of the game, and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. Willman also had 12 points, and Isaiah Ryan chipped in eight for the Warriors, who shot 36 percent (17-for-47) from the field.
Sterling 49, LaSalle-Peru 33
Star of the game: Trevon Jordan, Sterling, 13 points, 12 rebounds
Key performers: Drake Weber, LaSalle-Peru, 13 points, 3 3-pointers, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 7 steals; Aidan Shore, Sterling, 12 points (all in 2nd half), 14 rebounds, 2 blocks; Cooper Willman, Sterling, 12 points, 3 3-pointers
Up next: Sterling at Rockford Lutheran, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday