Walled Western Betters Rival Walled Lake Central 73-66 For Lakes Title

1 Mar

Walled Lake Western was struck with a dilemma against rival Walled Lake Central Saturday night. Not only was one Warrior member of the KLAA Lakes’ All-Conference team forced to sit extensively with foul trouble, but two.

Senior guard Jerald Booker and Marcus Bailey both were plagued with fouls throughout the contest. Bailey, a Wayne State football commit, received his second personal foul with 1:53 remaining in the first, his Warriors led 21-12. His classmate, Booker, led Walled Western seven points in the first.

However, less than three minutes into the second, Booker picked up his second foul, and was forced to the Warrior bench. However, Western’s play did not suffer, sophomore Delano Smith, and seniors DJ Young, Daryl Porter, and John Flowers all increased their play during the absences of Bailey and Booker. Western survived the first half 33-25.

“I think John Flowers just played outstanding, he came over ran the point,” Western first year head coach Chip Lutz said. “I thought Delano Smith stepped up in a big time game. DJ Young is kind of the unsung hero, he played great on the boards, and then Porter (Daryl) was Porter, athletic, guarding people.”

The one ailment for Western the entire night was 5’10” junior guard Walter Kelser. Kelser led the Vikings with a game-high 41 points, with 25 of those from the free-throw line.

“Kelser is just a great player,” Lutz said following the game. “We tried to keep him out of the lane.”

In one stretch during the second half, Kelser scored 9-10 of Central’s points. He single-handedly kept the Vikings hopes of defeating Western for a second time on the year alive.

Western was able to lead by margins of 6-8 early in the fourth. Leading 62-54 with 3:27 remaining, Booker fouled out of the game for good. Central’s other guard Nate Collins managed to score six straight in a one minute span to put the Vikings down four. With one minute remaining, Central had trimmed Western’s lead to three and held the ball, but were unable to get any farther. Collins and Kelser both picked up their fifth fouls in the final minute, and Western hit 5-8 free-throws to secure the Warriors’ first conference championship since 2000, and first in the KLAA.

Bailey played roughly seven minutes the night. Booker led Western with a Warrior-high 24, Delano Smith added 14 points, John Flowers contributed 11 points and six rebounds, and Daryl Porter scored 12 points.

Western improves to 18-1 on the year, and will wait until Thursday for an affair with Plymouth for the KLAA Association title.

Coach Lutz feels he is laying the groundwork for Western to build into a perennial contender not only in the KLAA, but state as well.

“We’ve talked about doing things the right way,” Lutz said. “We’re playing the right way.”

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