Northwestern's season ends in Class M quarters
WINSTED - Northwestern had some chances to put some early pressure on Bloomfield and when the Highlanders failed to capitalize the Warhawks pounced.
Bloomfield was tough on the boards and in transition and Northwestern missed some open looks early and never got in a rhythm on offense as the No. 9 Warkhawks pulled away for an 81-65 victory in a Class M quarterfinal on Saturday in Winsted.
The loss ends a great run for Northwestern (24-1). The Highlanders rolled through the Berkshire League, winning the regular season and league tournament titles and entered the Class M tournament as the No. 1 seed. That roll came to an end on Saturday.
"This was a great win for our team, we really played good basketball," Bloomfield coach Gary Barcher said. "I wasn't sure we could do it. Northwestern was a team where I wasn't sure we could pull it off but the kids did a great job."
What the Warhawks did a great job of was hitting the boards and making the Highlanders uncomfortable on offense for stretches at a time. Bloomfield also was able to get out an run off of Northwestern misses and turnovers.
The game started with both teams feeling each other out. Northwestern got some looks but didn't knock them down and Bloomfield was plagued by some early turnovers. The Warhawks held a 14-13 lead after the first and the Highlanders were in the game but had missed an early opportunity.
"We got some good looks early but didn't knock them down," Northwestern coach Doug Sebach said. "We get off to a little better start shooting the ball and we could have put some pressure on them, got our press going a little bit."
Bloomfield led by as many as nine in the first half and was up 35-28 at the break. Jordan Jennings, who finished with 18 points for Bloomfield, had eight in the first half and eight different Warhawks scored in the opening 16 minutes.
"It wasn't anything we did early on, they got some open looks for some good shooters and we were fortunate they didn't knock them down," Barcher said. "Our depth helped too. They like to play fast and I could see some of our guys were tired early, so playing a lot of guys helped."
The depth, the length, the quickness, it all helped Bloomfield in the second half as Northwestern was never able to put one one of the spurts they had become so famous for throughout this season. Bloomfield went on a 9-3 run to take a 44-31 lead to open the third quarter and Northwestern was never able to really threaten the rest of the way.
Jennings hit four 3-pointers and was one of four Bloomfield players in double figures. Tyreke Jones, a 6-6 sophomore, controlled the paint with blocked shots and rebounds and finished with four dunks.
"We rebounded hard but their length was tough to match up with," Northwestern guard Connor Guiheen said. "They were so quick on their second jump and they got a lot of those tipped balls and rebounds."
Northwestern didn't quit and was down 55-46 entering the third. But instead of the Highlanders going on a run to close the gap and make it a game, the Warhawks put it away with an 8-0 run to open up a 63-46 advantage.
Bloomfield held on from there and advanced to a meeting with Valley Regional in the Class M semifinals. Northwestern's season ended a little short of where they hoped to be, but the Highlanders still accomplished many of their goals.
"It's a tough way to end the season, especially for a great group of seniors," Sebach said. "Everyone in the program, the kids, the coaches, the parents, did such a great job this season. When they look back on this season they'll have a lot to be proud of."
Class M Quarterfinals
Northwestern 13 - 15 - 18 - 19 - 65
Bloomfield 14 - 21 - 20 - 26 - 81
Bloomfield (81) - Gene Harrison 5 2-2 13; Tyreke Jones 5 5-5 15; Jordan Gary 4 0-0 9; Norvel Stewart 2 2-2 6; Jordan Jennings 5 4-4 18; Chancie Williams 2 4-10 8; Donovan Longmore 1 0-0 2; Steven Hardie 4 2-3 10. Totals 28 19-23 81.
3-pointers: Jennings (4), Harrison, Gary
Northwestern (65) - John Stevens 7 0-1 15; Arthur Lefevre 7 0-0 18; John Lippincott 1 0-0 2; Eric Weingart 1 0-0 2; Connor Guiheen 4 2-3 12; Jimi Phillips 1 1-2 3; Mike Jeffko 6 1-1 13. Totals 27 4-7 65.
3-pointers: Lefevre (4), Guiheen (2), Stevens,