The last time Akron-Westfield defeated Gehlen Catholic in boys basketball, the current Westerners were just about ready to go off to preschool and kindergarten. That was February 19, 2009, and the 26-game losing streak to Gehlen Catholic came to an end on Tuesday night with a 62-49 home win.
Akron-Westfield head coach Chad Clay acknowledged that the streak is because of a strong program that Gehlen has and credited this year’s team for being the ones to break the streak.
The Westerners got a huge spark to start the game from Jackson Marnach, and that spark turned into a fire when Laytin Koch took the floor. Coming off the bench, Koch exploded for 20 points in the first half and finished with 28 for the game. Coach Clay says Koch is a versatile player that can thrive in any role.
Gehlen Catholic head coach Ryan Wiltgen says Koch’s quick first step left a lot of his defenders in the dust.
The Jays simply struggled to put points on the board throughout the night. Good looks presented themselves, but they were not falling the Jays’ way. Coach Wiltgen says that could have been a product of the physical nature with which the game was played.
That physicality led to three Westerners sitting a large chunk of the second half with four fouls each. Coach Clay says that meant guys had to come off the bench to help out, and he is confident in what they all can bring to the table.
The biggest challenge for Gehlen Catholic in their last three games continues into the rest of this week. That is getting off the blocks quicker and starting stronger. Coach Wiltgen says the guys will work on things ahead of two games that finish out their week this week.
Akron-Westfield is hoping to take this win in context keeping things in perspective. It is still December, there is plenty more basketball to play, and there is still another matchup with Gehlen Catholic looming. Coach Clay says that means diverting attention right back to the schedule at-hand with Friday’s game upcoming.
Gehlen Catholic falls to 1-3 and 0-1 in the War Eagle Conference with the loss. The Jays will be home against Unity Christian and Trinity Christian on Thursday and Friday this week.
Akron-Westfield is now 2-2 and 1-0 in the War Eagle Conference. They are at No. 8 George-Little Rock on Friday to wrap up the week.