WESTERVILLE, Ohio -- Coming out guns blazing in a big time non-league matchup with DeSales on Tuesday, Westerville Central used a near perfect first quarter to roll past the Stallions, taking them down 58-41.
After jumping out to a 5-0 lead and forcing a DeSales timeout just two minutes in, the Warhawks never looked back. They forced a litany of turnovers in the first frame and caught fire from all over the floor, claiming a 24-3 lead at the end of the quarter.
Shifting the momentum immediately in the second quarter, DeSales junior wing Des Watson sparked a 9-0 run for the Stallions. He hit a three, came up with a huge transition dunk and then blocked a shot emphatically on the other end to ignite the crowd and give DeSales some life.
After letting the Stallions cut the deficit to 12, Westerville Central held steady for the rest of the quarter, taking a 31-17 lead into the half.
DeSales cut the lead to as little as 10 in the third after a three from junior Austin Mann made the score 38-28 with 2:50 left in the quarter, however, they never could spark the run they needed to make it close late.
Westerville Central went on a 14-4 run to begin the fourth behind the play of Quincy Clark, Will Lemaire, Tyler Beckel and Tasos Cook, pushing their lead to 56-35 with 3:39 to go and putting this one out of reach for good.
Leading the way for DeSales with a game-high 19 points, Watson was just about all the production they could get on the offensive end as he put together another very impressive showing.
Mann added seven for the Stallions as he hit a few impressive jump shots off both the dribble and catch, while Kobe Righter, Noah Garrick and Chris Fleisher each scored four in the loss.
DeSales moves to 1-1 after the loss and will open CCL play on Friday at home against Bishop Watterson.
With a very well-rounded offensive showing, Westerville Central didn't have a single player score over 11 points in the win. Clark and Lemaire each contributed 11, while Beckel scored nine, Cook scored eight and Landon Tillman chipped in with seven.
They'll be back in action on Friday as they begin league play at home against cross-town rival Westerville North.
Des Watson (6'4 WG / DeSales / 2021): Coming into the night fresh off of a 39 point explosion against Huber Heights Wayne on Saturday, Watson remained hot with yet another very impressive showing. The 6-foot-4 wing showed off a very reliable handle, bringing the ball up the court at times and getting to the rim off the bounce whenever he wanted. He got things done on offense in a variety of ways, as he knocked down three triples off the catch, scored on the offensive glass and finished thorough contact. The junior showed off his athleticism in a very impressive sequence in the second quarter where he threw down a big one-handed slam in transition just before coming up with a huge block on the defensive end on the very next possession. We were impressed with his vision as well, as Watson made several impressive passes in the half court and open floor, showing an improved ability for finding teammates and creating easy scores. We love what he offers at this level as the junior can defend 2-5, can dominate the glass and has developed a very impressive scoring package in the last few months. Look for Watson's recruitment to heat up this season as he'll get plenty of opportunities to put up big numbers on a DeSales team that will need him to in order to win.
Quincy Clark (6'1 PG / Westerville Central / 2021): Doing an excellent job of creating offense for both himself and others, Clark had a very impressive showing as a lead guard tonight. The 6-foot-1 junior has a very good handle, can get to the rim often and does an excellent job of making the right play when he is in the lane. We liked the way he finished through contact, distributed the ball at an extremely high level and competed hard on the defensive end. Clark had several nice finishes around the rim, hit a turnaround from just in front of the free throw line and also got to the line and converted on multiple occasions. We like what he brings to this Westerville Central team as he is a composed ball handler who can be relied on to defend opposing point guards every night.
Will Lemaire (6'5 WF / Westerville Central / 2020): Lemaire had an extremely efficient showing for the Warhawks tonight, finishing with 11 points and affecting the game on the defensive end by helping force several steals while using his length to trap and frustrate opposing ball handlers. He knocked down three spot-up three's, hit the glass hard, dove for loose balls and made good reads with the ball in his hands, whether it was making an extra pass in the half court or starting the fast break with a good outlet pass. He showed the ability to get to the rim off the bounce as well, making a good drive and kick on one specific possession where he beat his man off the dribble. We like what he brings to this Westerville Central team as he offers versatility on both ends of the floor, picks his spots well and makes the right play on most occasions.
Austin Mann (5'7 WG / DeSales / 2021): Despite being plagued with foul trouble, Mann was about the only other scoring option DeSales could find tonight. He did an excellent job of playing within the offense as he hit a mid-range coming off of a screen, a three coming off of a screen and hit a mid-range off the dribble. He also assisted on several triples from Watson and one from Righter, making the right reads within the offensive sets and knowing where to go with the ball next. Though he's slightly undersized at 5-foot-7, the junior is a deadeye shooter from deep who knows how to get himself open and create space in order to get his shot off. Now in his second season of varsity duty and first season in the starting lineup full time, we hope to see Mann continue to expand his offensive arsenal and become another scoring threat alongside Watson for DeSales.