By Ryan Palencer
LIZTON — Behind 34 points from Trevon Bluiett, Class 2A No.1-ranked Park Tudor defeated host Tri-West 66-53 on Friday night.
“It’s tough to get beat here at home, but we are playing one of the best teams in the entire state, let alone 2A,” Tri-West coach Adam Bontreger said. “To come out and compete against them all night, I was proud of them for doing that.”
After a competitive first quarter, Tri-West (3-4) found themselves down just six at 21-15 midway through the second quarter. However, Park Tudor (7-1) went on a 10-1 run to close the half.
Things went downhill in the third quarter and most of the way through the fourth as Tri-West trailed by 20 after a pair of free throws by Park Tudor’s Dwayne Gibson, but the Bruins went on a 15-8 run to close the game.
“The number one thing that we wanted to have tonight was a lot of effort,” Bonetreger said. “We wanted to play hard, play together, and play smart. I thought that we did that tonight. I think that we competed. I told the guys that a lot of teams, in the second half when they went up by 16 or 17 points, would have folded and we continued to fight and battle. We made them work for the rest of the game and that is really what we want out of this team.”
Sam Koelling led the Bruins with 25 points on 7 of 13 shooting behind the arc. Jake Hendershot added 10 points, while Mitch Alexander chipped in eight.
Bontreger was pleased with Koelling’s shooting, and he hopes that this was a sign of things to come.
“I was extremely happy to see Sam finally hit some shots,” Bontreger said. “He’s had a lot of open looks this year. He’s our best shooter on the team, and for him to hit some shots, I hope that this gives him some confidence and he can get out of his shooting slump that he has been in most of the season. He hit some big shots from long range tonight. He is the type of player, that when he gets hot, he’s a really good offensive player.”
Along with his 34 points, Bluiett also ripped down 10 rebounds for the visiting Panthers and was a force to be reckoned with all evening.
“I think that Bluiett might be one of the top three players in the entire state, let alone the junior class,” Bonetreger said. “He is probably the top junior player. There’s not a whole lot of people who can guard him. We knew that he was going to get his points, no matter what. We were just trying to stop everybody else. For the most part, we did fairly well. He’s a heck of a player and you have to give him a lot of credit for all of the work that he has done.”
Tri-West will look to rebound from the loss when they compete against Danville in the opening round of he Hendricks County tournament, which tips off Jan. 2.