SENIOR NIGHT: Southwestern’s Mackenzy Withered (above) drives on Trinity Lutheran’s Mathew Pinnow during Tuesday’s game in Hanover. Senior Gunnar Henry, who suffered a season-ending knee injury recently, got a pat on the shoulder from an official (below). Henry was dressed out for senior night ceremonies. The Rebels got behind early and never could catch up in a 65-53 loss. (Staff photo by David Hill)
SENIOR NIGHT: Southwestern’s Mackenzy Withered (above) drives on Trinity Lutheran’s Mathew Pinnow during Tuesday’s game in Hanover. Senior Gunnar Henry, who suffered a season-ending knee injury recently, got a pat on the shoulder from an official (below). Henry was dressed out for senior night ceremonies. The Rebels got behind early and never could catch up in a 65-53 loss. (Staff photo by David Hill)
Trinity Lutheran's Cougars grabbed the lead midway through the first quarter of Tuesday's game at Southwestern and managed to keep it the rest of the way in a 65-53 victory over the host Rebels on senior night.

"We have a good group of seniors (Zach Westerfield, Stephen Howell, Mackenzy Withered, Darius Whitson-Spegal, Nick Wyne and Gunnar Henry). I believe in them and I do believe we have a chance in the sectionals," said Southwestern head coach Andy Firth. "I hate for us to go out like this on senior night.

"I took over the program three years ago when (the seniors) were sophomores and have enjoyed seeing all the kids grow into good young men. I'm very proud of the seniors especially," the coach added.

Seniors scored 31 of Southwestern's points on the night. Mackenzy Withered's 13 points led the way. Henry, who sustained a season-ending knee injury recently, was recognized during pre-game senior night ceremonies.

Overall, Firth wasn't too happy with his team's performance.

"At times, we lacked effort tonight," he said. "It showed in misses right under the basket and in our defense. We knew who we had to stop (on defense) and we didn't make the stops.

"They were dominant on the boards and when you don't rebound, you don't win."

Trinity Lutheran, led in scoring by guards Luke and Craig Stuckwisch with 21 and 19 points respectively, held a 17-11 lead after one quarter and outscored the Rebels 14-8 in the second quarter to hold a 31-19 halftime advantage.

Luke Stuckwisch knocked down three of his five 3-pointers in the first quarter. Two of them came in the last minute and allowed the Cougars to go out by six.

Southwestern had chances to cut the lead considerably during the second frame but missed shots and five missed free throws prevented that from happening.

Craig Stuckwisch scored six points for Trinity in the second quarter to help his team go up by 12 (31-19) at halftime.

"We took this game from ourselves tonight," Firth said. "We had chances to compete and then we gave it right up. You can't wait until the fourth quarter to start playing."

As the second half opened, Southwestern hoped the 12-point deficit could be overtaken with the strategies of a rested team and a new half.

Trinity Lutheran had different ideas, though. Craig and Luke Stuckwisch both knocked down treys as the Cougars expanded their lead to 16 early in the third quarter.

Southwestern got closer toward the middle of the quarter on a pair of baskets by Michael Perry and six points by Withered. The Cougars once again got hot toward the end and a trey by Luck Stuckwisch at the buzzer gave them a 50-32 lead.

The Rebels had some good performances by Tristan Embs (eight points), Whitson-Spegal (five points) and Withered (four points) during the fourth quarter but the Cougars had already built too big of a lead to be overtaken.

Forward Mark Pinnow and Craig Stuckwisch scored 12 of Trinity Lutheran's 15 fourth quarter points.

Southwestern returns to action Saturday when it hosts Jennings County.

"They're a strong team and they'll give us a tough way to go if we're not ready for them," Firth said.

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TUESDAY'S BOYS GAME

at Hanover

TRINITY LUTHERAN 65,

SOUTHWESTERN 53



TRINITY 17 14 19 15 - 65

SOUTHWESTERN 11 8 13 21 - 53



TRINITY LUTHERAN (6-12) - (g)L. Stackwisch 21, (g)C. Stuckwisch 18, VanLiew 10, (f)Mar. Pinnow 9, Rollins 4, (c)Harless 2, (f)Mat. Pinnow 1, Christopher 0, Criswell 0, Horton 0.

SOUTHWESTERN (5-15) - (f)Withered 13, Embs 12, Perry 10, (g)Whitson-Spegal 9, (f)Wyne 7, (g)Westerfield 2, (g)Howell 0, Brooks 0.



3-Point Goals - Trinity 6 (L. Stuckwisch 5, C. Stuckwisch 1), Southwestern 3 (Perry 1, Withered 1, Whitson-Spegal 1). Total Fouls - Trinity 20, Southwestern 20. Free Throws - Trinity 11-19, Southwestern 10-16. Fouled Out - Trinity: Mat. Pinnow, Southwestern: None. Next Game - Trinity visits Oldenburg Academy Friday, Southwestern hosts Jennings Co. Saturday.