South Warren is moving on.
The Spartans, seeded fourth in the District 14 Tournament, opened play Monday night with a 60-41 win over fifth-seeded Warren East at South Warren High School.
“We didn’t look like the same team we’ve had the last few weeks, but again they figured out we were gonna need some buckets and get some stops – and we figured out a way to do that,” South Warren coach Blane Embry said. “It’s survive and advance this time of year, and that’s what we did tonight.”
South Warren (16-14 overall) advances to Tuesday’s 7:30 p.m. semifinal where it’ll meet top-seeded Warren Central with a spot in Friday’s district final and next week’s Region 4 Tournament on the line.
Jace Carver and Caden Veltkamp led the way for the Spartans with 14 points each, while Caleb Mitchell-Franklin finished with 12.
“We knew we were the more athletic team,” Veltkamp said. “We knew that we could outrun ‘em, so we wanted to get out on the break and just push ‘em – and that’s what we did.
“We’re excited to get after Warren Central. We feel good about it, and we’re gonna come out hot.”
Ryan Carter paced Warren East – which finished the season 6-21 – with 15 points, while Kaleb Matlock scored 14.
Matlock knocked down a 3-pointer to give Warren East a 5-2 lead at the 3:57 mark of the opening quarter, but South Warren answered with a quick 5-0 run – highlighted by back-to-back scores from Jonathan Hill and Carver – to jump in front 7-5.
Carver scored four straight points to put the Spartans up 11-6 with 1:06 remaining in the period, and Mitchell-Franklin closed it with a jumper to make it 13-8 after one.
South Warren used a 6-0 run to go up 19-10 at the 5:21 mark of the second, but the Raiders got within 21-16 with 2:06 left in the half after a Carter basket. Carter scored again just under a minute later to make it 24-18 before the Spartans led 25-18 at halftime.
The Spartans scored the first eight points of the second half – with five of those coming from Veltkamp – to build a 33-18 lead at the 5:06 mark of the third quarter. Jason Putnam’s 3-pointer made it 38-22, and South ultimately took a 40-27 advantage into the fourth.
Mitchell-Franklin’s basket at the 5:12 mark of the final quarter put South Warren up 48-32, and it later led 51-36 before finishing with the 19-point victory.
“It’s difficult playing in this district when you’re young – combined with inexperience,” Warren East coach Brandon Combs said. “Now, as the year went on, and last week and even the week before, we were playing better basketball. We were jittery early, playing in that district tournament knowing you’re in the one-and-done tournament now if you don’t win.”
WEHS – 8 10 15 8 — 41
SWHS – 13 12 9 26 — 60