Wilson found the complete game it had been looking for Monday night, as the No. 4 seed Bulldogs defeated fifth-seeded Exeter 74-51 in a Berks Boys Basketball Conference quarterfinal at West Lawn.
With the win, Wilson (15-8) will take on top-seeded Berks Catholic (20-2) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in a semifinal at Santander Arena. The Saints defeated eighth-seeded Antietam 61-38 on in a quarterfinal Monday night.
“The key was, we finally, since the Central York game, (a 61-50 win on Dec. 27), have played a full game,” Bulldogs coach Matt Coldren said. “Our energy level and our enthusiasm and our execution, for the most part, was (high for) the full game. So I was happy.
“Exeter is a dangerous team. I think we did a pretty good job defensively. I think we wore them out a little bit, got into their legs and they didn’t make shots.”
The Eagles (15-8), who entered the night leading the league with 208 3-pointers, were held to just four from beyond the arc, with two coming in each half.
The lack of offensive production proved costly, as Wilson outscored Exeter 21-8 in the second quarter after the Eagles held a 19-18 lead after the first.
The Bulldogs continued to put the pressure on in the second half, outscoring the Eagles 19-12 in the third quarter to carry away with the victory.
“I think everybody knows that come playoff time you have to compete for 32 minutes,” Exeter coach Jeff VanGorder said. “You need to be locked in on the defensive end. That’s where it starts. The first quarter was good offensively, but we didn’t do exactly what we wanted defensively and then we started missing some shots.
“That kind of spilled over into the second quarter and into the second half. But, the guys gave effort so I’m proud of that.”
Wilson junior Luke Levan led all scorers with a career-high 22 points while picking up eight rebounds. Levan led all scorers at the half with 15 points.
Averaging 8.8 points coming into the game, the center’s height proved paramount, as Levan got to the inside early and often to utilize his 6-5 frame for easy baskets.
“Going against a team like that, they don’t really have a dominant big guy,” Levan said. “I just feel like I’m the one that needs to score when we play a team with smaller guys inside.”
Levans’ presence inside allowed shots to open up elsewhere, according to Coldren.
Sophomore Correll Akings scored 19 points and made two 3-pointers and junior Madyx Gruber scored 17 points and had two 3-pointers for the Bulldogs. In the end, the dynamic offense had too many compounded weapons for the opposition to stop.
“I just think we played really well together and I think a key was working the offense through Luke,” Coldren said. “When the offense flows through him it makes things on the outside so much easier.
“Luke is very unselfish. If guys double down on him (defensively) he’ll pass it out to them. So the kids did a great job tonight. They gave him the ball in good spots and I think he made his first six out of seven shots. His night was big for us.”
Senior Alex Kelsey scored a team-high 12 points for the Eagles.
Exeter’s leading scorer, senior Kevin Saenz, entered the game averaging 17.4 points per game but was held to nine points. Kelsey had nine points in the first half while Saenz had three.
“We started off slow (and) they were scoring every possession,” Levan said. “Then in the second through fourth quarters we were just really hounding them on defense. We really tried to get a good mindset throughout the game and stop their main scorers.
“If we can get them to shoot an off-balance shot and get the rebound, that’s what we want.”
Heading into the semifinal round of the Berks playoffs, Wilson is riding high with confidence, according to Levan.
“That was a great game,” Levan said. “We’re going to come back on Wednesday and beat BC and head to the finals.”
Source: Berkshire mont