The Southwestern Spartans began defending their 2017 Region XI tournament championship with a 92-51 victory over DMACC last night, as their 2018 tourney run got underway on their home court in Creston.
The Spartans raced to a 26-9 lead with seven minutes to go in the first half but struggled the remainder of the half and took a 38-33 lead into the break.
The second half started much like the first, with a 27-6 run over the first seven minutes of the half to push their lead to 65-39. From that point on, it never got any closer.
"Our defense really set the tone both halves," stated Spartan Head Coach Todd Lorensen. "We felt if we could limit their transition and second chance opportunities it would be tough for them to score. I was happy with our effort."
Terence Shelby had a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds on 7-12 shooting. Fellow sophomore Alijah Thomas had 15 points to go with a team-high five assists and four steals. Thomas committed zero turnovers while defending DMACC's top offensive threat in Wali Parks who was held to 10 points. D'Marqueyon Whittington contributed 16 points and Ryan Warren added 12.
"Terence has become so much more efficient these past few weeks," said Lorensen. "His shot selection has allowed our offense to really improve. Alijah has been steady all year and tonight was much the same."
The #3-seeded Spartans will travel to #2-seed Iowa Lakes who made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to defeat #7-seed NIACC last night with a score of 81-80. Tip-off for the Spartans vs the Lakers will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 8, in Estherville.