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Zach West (middle) of Oswego drives to the basket between Marquell Oliver and Nick Dodson (30) of Metea Valley. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
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No. 9 Oswego got a second-half lift from sophomore reserve Zach West and broke open a close game to claim the title of Wheaton Warrenville South’s inaugural Martin Luther King Tournament with a 54-38 win over Metea Valley.
“I was a little nervous but I got in the flow of things,” said the 6-foot-3 West, who had a 7-0 run of his own after the Mustangs had opened the third quarter with eight straight points to break a 24-24 tie at the break.
West drove in from the side of the lane and scored, made a steal at midcourt and went in for a layup and then nailed a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 32-31.
Metea Valley didn’t score for the rest of the period, trailed 38-32 after three quarters and was limited to just six more points in the fourth.
The Panthers had advanced to the title game by beating Bartlett, and the Mustangs topped Palatine earlier in the day.
“Zach West stepped up big-time for us,” said Oswego coach Kevin Schnable, whose team is 17-2.
West finished with 14 points, helping pick up the slack for foul-troubled Elliott McGaughy, who was limited to six, well below his 18-point average.
Guard Miles Simelton led the Panthers with 20 points and forward Darion Reddick also had 14 points to go with five rebounds and two blocked shots.
“We struggled, this is not the same (Metea Valley) team we played way back when at Thanksgiving in our tournament and we handled them at home,” said Oswego coach Kevin Schnable. “They’ve gotten better. So have we, but we knew it was going to be easy for them to get up for us.
“We told our kids we were gonna have to match their ‘want to.’ Fortunately, we did that the last 12 minutes and were able to finish with a 30-6 run.”
Sophomore guard Bryson Oliver sparked the Mustangs with nine points and four assists. Senior guard Vin Patel had eight points, as did 6-9 center Hayden Barnard, who also had eight rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.
“These are the dog days of the season and this was a good experience for us, playing some very good teams at this time of year,” said Metea Valley coach Bob Vozza.
“We responded well at the start of the second half but then had some untimely turnovers that hurt us. I thought we played pretty well for three-fourths of the game, we just have to finish it out.”
Simelton led Oswego with 23 points in its semifinal win over Bartlett. McGaughy added 19 and Reddick 10.