NEW BOSTON — Put simply, Alex Humphrey was due for a big night.
Coming into Tuesday’s game, Western’s senior guard had been enduring an on-court slump. But apparently, a trip to New Boston was just what the doctor ordered.
Humphrey dropped a game-high 21 points off the bench in a 68-57 conference win.
Big-time players step up in big-time moments. Tuesday, Alex Humphrey was big-time.
“Honestly, I’ve had some problems over the past couple of games,” Humphrey said. “So I just kind of told myself that I was going to come out tonight and do what I had to do in order to get a win … especially against New Boston. Those guys are good.”
Humphrey was consistent throughout the ballgame, scoring six in the first quarter, four in the second, nine in the third and two in the fourth.
“Athletically, there are few kids around that can handle him,” Fitch said. “He’s got a good pull-up jumper, he’s a good slasher and if you leave him open for 3, he can hit that. So he’s a triple threat. He’s a handful when he’s engaged and he was certainly engaged tonight.”
Western (10-2, 6-1 SOC I) used Humphrey’s performance and paired it with that of Lane Brewster’s 14-point, seven-rebound effort. Those two frustrating opponents is nothing new.
“Those are our two seniors and we expect them to step up and lead in games like this,” Fitch said. “Lane and Alex have both been doing it all year long.”
On the other hand, Kyle Sexton led New Boston (7-4, 5-2 SOC I) with 18 points and 14 rebounds. But still, he was limited on the offensive glass which, according to Fitch, had a lot to do with the play of 6-foot-5 center Broc Jordan.
“We did very well overall. We wanted to do to limit Sexton,” Fitch said. “He’s such a good player. We wanted to limit his second chances. That we couldn’t do and be effective. I thought Broc Jordan did an outstanding on him. We were trying to guard him with Broc, without helping out so much. He did a good job allowing that to happen.”
Tale of the tape
Jordan started the night’s scoring at the 5:48 mark in the first before Grady Jackson got the Tigers on the board, tying the score, 28 seconds later. But, led by Brewster, Humphrey and Maverick Ferneau, the Indians ripped off a 10-2 run, taking a 12-4 lead at the 2:30 mark and forcing New Boston to call a timeout.
According to Fitch, that fast start was what set the night’s tone.
“I was telling our kids to maintain,” Fitch said. “We knew they weren’t going to give us the game and that we needed to play all four quarters. I think it was one of our more complete efforts.”
After entering the second quarter trailing 16-8, Jackson quickly started to lead the Tigers down the comeback trail. The freshman scored six straight points, cutting the lead to just two with 5:46 left in the first half. By halftime, Western’s eight-point lead had turned into three at 30-27.
After the break, Humphrey and Brewster continued to shoot while Western’s defense limited New Boston to just three field goals. Thanks to that combo, the Indians had a 52-46 lead heading in the final eight minutes.
They’d use the same mix to put the game on ice.
Humphrey led all scorers with 21 points alongside eight rebounds and four assists. Brewster followed with 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Ferneau added 15 points, and Jordan finished the night with 15 points.
Leading New Boston statistically was Sexton, who posted a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds … but was limited to single-digit second chance opportunities. Jackson added 18 of his own, Jerome McKinley had nine, and Marcus Saunders tallied eight.
What’s on tap
Both teams get back to action Friday night as Western hosts Notre Dame and New Boston hosts Symmes Valley.
“Our goal is certainly to win the league,” Fitch said. “Eastern got us early but we still go to their place. All we have to do is control our own destiny. There are so many tough teams and tough road games … I’ll be surprised if anyone runs the table.”
Western: 16-14-22-16 — 68
New Boston: 8-19-19-11 — 57
Western: 24-51 FG, 14-17 FT, 6-14 3pt. (Ferneau 3), 30 rebounds (Humphrey 8), 18 turnovers, 11 assists (Brewster 5). Scoring: Humphrey 21, Ferneau 15, Brewster 14, Jordan 11, Richardson 4, Gibson 3.
New Boston: 22-53 FG, 10-15 FT, 3-17 3pt. (Saunders 2), 25 rebounds (Sexton 14), 17 turnovers, 9 assists (Caldwell 3). Scoring: Sexton 18, Jackson 18, McKinley 9, Saunders 8, Caldwell 4.
Reach Derrick Webb at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @dw1509.