The sixth-ranked Fowler High School boys basketball team used a stiff press and scored early and often as it defeated Swink 72-33 in the Class 2A District 6 Tournament quarterfinals Monday at Grizzly Gym.
"The kids put a lot of pressure on them early and we were rotating well, getting some steals, and closing some passing lanes that looked like they were open," said Fowler coach Mark Lowther. "We were able to get some steals and some early buckets early on."
"That's a good ball team," said Swink coach Curt Lewis. "I respect them and the Fowler boys play hard. We were ready for the press I thought, but they threw a different press on us. We fought back, but we just couldn't recover. We were a step behind all night."
The Lions took the first lead on a 3-point basket by Nathan Paolucci. However, Johnathan Mobbley put the Grizzlies on the board, and Braxton Bates scored to give Fowler a 4-3 lead.
That sparked an 18-0 run which, which included two more baskets by Mobbley and two from Gabriel Proctor.
Ian Kersey ended the run with a layup, but Fowler scored the final seven points of the first quarter with Rylee Smith scoring two baskets. Fowler led 25-5 at the end of the period.
Swink's Cord Proctor made two free throws for the first points of the second quarter, but Val Leone drove for a layup and added a free throw. Proctor knocked down a jumper before the Grizzlies went on an 8-0 run. Smith and Jackson Bates both score three points in the rally.
Paolucci made two free throws and Clay Roweth made one to bring the Lions within a 36-12 deficit. Smith scored another layup, but Paolucci made another free throw and Roweth scored a layup.
Liam Griffy made a trey for the Grizzlies, but Roweth answered with five straight points. Smith scored in the final seconds to give Fowler a 43-20 lead at the half.
Leone opened the second half by scoring the first seven points of the third quarter. Eli Suiters ended the run, but Leone scored five more points, and Smith split at the line for a 56-22 Grizzlies lead.
Trevin Holland also made one of two from the charity stripe, but Bryant Manchego scored five points in the final two minutes of the period for a 61-25 advantage.
The fourth quarter was played under a running clock. Mobbley started the scoring with a 3-pointer, but Proctor scored in the paint. Luke Bitter made one of two free throws, followed by layups by Mobbley and Manchego to give Fowler its largest lead at 69-27.
Swink outscored Fowler 6-3 in the finals 4:19.
Three Grizzlies scored in double figures with Leone leading with 23 points. Mobbley scored 11 and Smith added 10.
Roweth led Swink with 10 points and Paolucci scored eight.
Fowler (18-2) will face Crowley County, a 55-51 winner over Swallows Charter Academy in Ordway also on Monday, in the district semifinals on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. at La Junta High School's Tiger Gym.
"We just need to go out and plat one game at a time now," Lowther said. "We know that were guaranteed to go to regionals, but we want to play one game at a time and it's going to tough to beat a team for the second time."
Swink finished the season with four wins and 16 losses.
"Our boys progressed all year," Lewis said. "We got better and I'm proud of them. They worked hard and we're a lot better team than we were at the start of the year."
In other District 6 action, Hoehne defeated Rocky Ford 53-48 in Hoehne, and Holly defeated Rye 46-23 in Holly.
Hoehne and Holly will meet in the semifinals Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Fowler 72, Swink 33
Swink — Roweth 4 2-4 10, Proctor 2 2-2 6, Kersey 3 0-0 6, N. Paolucci 2 3-5 8, Suiters 1 0-0 2, Zumwalt 0 0-0 0, Carale 0 0-0 0, Carroll 0 0-0 0, Holland 0 1-2 1, Diaz 0 0-0 0, Miner 0 0-0 0, J. Paolucci 0 0-0 0. Total 12 8-13 33.
3-point goals — N. Paolucci 1.
Fowler — Bitter 1 2-3 4, Proctor 2 0-0 4, Leone 7 8-9 23, B. Bates 1 0-0 2, Mobbley 5 0-0 11, Milberger 0 0-0 0, Griffy 2 0-0 6, Anderson 0 0-0 0, Smith 4 1-2 10, J. Bates 1 2-2 5, Hernandez 0 0-0 0, J. Manchego 0 0-0 0, B. Manchego 3 0-0 7, Roe 0 0-0 0. Total 26 13-16 72.
3-point goals — Griffy 2, J. Bates 1, Leone 1, B. Manchego 1, Mobbley 1, Smith 1.
Swink 5 15 5 8 — 33
Fowler 25 18 18 11 — 72
Fouls — Swink 12, Fowler 17.