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Mooseheart's Mangisto Deng (No. 24) heads to the basket during the Ramblers' 74-40 victory over Faith Lutheran in the IHSA Class 1A Westminster Christian Regional. Deng scored 20 points in the contest.
Mooseheart's Hameed Odunewu (No. 10) shoots for 2 of his 18 points in the second half of the Ramblers' 74-40 victory over Faith Lutheran.
Mooseheart's Jon Hart (No. 11) scores 2 of his 6 points in the second quarter of the Ramblers' win in their opening contest in the IHSA Class 1A Westminster Regional.
ELGIN, IL, Feb. 19 – It took a bit for Mooseheart pull away from Faith Lutheran in Tuesday's IHSA Class 1A Westminster Christian Regional opener for both teams.
But relentless, consistent scoring helped the Ramblers steadily increase their lead and, when the game was over, claim a comfortable 74-40 victory.
The Ramblers (22-5) were seldom troubled in the contest but the lead was just 23-14 after the first quarter. Mooseheart scored 28 points in the second quarter and carried a 51-25 edge.
Despite the ease of the victory, Ramblers coach Ron Ahrens said there were things he wanted his to improve on for their second regional contest, a 7:30 p.m. Wednesday game against host Westminster Christian, which eliminated Elgin Academy 61-22 in Tuesday's other contest.
"I didn't think we played with very much energy tonight," Ahrens said. "I think we played OK, but not with a lot of energy. I think our big guys stood around too much and I thought our perimeter defenders stood around too much."
One factor which concerned Ahrens was the Saints' outside shooting. Faith Lutheran hit five three-pointers in the first half and converted seven three-pointers in the contest.
"They were content with letting them shoot a three instead of running at them and making them put the ball on the floor," Ahrens said. "That's what we do defensively, run at a guy and make him put it on the floor and you don't give up those uncontested three's."
Mangisto Deng scored 13 of his game-high 20 points in the first half and he played sparingly in the fourth quarter. Hameed Odunewu added 18 points while Makur Puou scored 12 for the Ramblers. Ahrens said he was pleased with his team felt true postseason pressure. Although Mooseheart won the Northeastern Athletic Conference tournament – Tuesday's contest was different.
"It's a big difference – you lose and you're done," Ahrens said. "That's way different than any tournament we're in and that's kind of the beauty of it all. You have to be able to come out and play hard every night."
Mooseheart has faced Westminster Christian twice and won both times, including in the NAC tournament title game.
"I'm extremely worried," Ahrens said. "It's hard to beat somebody three times."
Jake Larson led Faith Lutheran with 18 points.
Mooseheart 74, Faith Lutheran 40
Faith Lutheran: Larson 5 6-7 18, J. Chapel 1 0-0 3, Van-Antwerp 4 0-0 11, Borghardt 0 0-0 0, Tieman 0 0-0 0, Kim 0 0-0 0, Boyer 3 1-2 8, Shin 0 0-0 0, M. Chapel 0 0-0 0, Moffatt 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 7-9 40.
Mooseheart: Okito 2 0-0 4, Odunewu 8 1-3 18, Hart 3 0-0 6, Mahoney 2 2-4 6, Deng 7 6-8 20, Puou 5 2-2 12, Sanni 1 2-2 4, Nyang 2 0-0 4. Totals 30 13-19 74.
Faith Lutheran 14 11 7 8 - 40
Mooseheart 23 28 11 12 - 74
Three-point goals: Faith Lutheran: Larson 2, J. Chapel 1, Van-Antwerp 3, Boyer 1. Mooseheart: Odunewu 1. Fouled out: None.