Warriors Down British Columbia in Byron Finale

Submitted by: Ron Smith - December 31st, 2015


Hayden Anderson(Photo by Nate Kurtzman)

Hayden Anderson
(Photo by Nate Kurtzman)

The 40th Annual Tom Byron Classic concluded with a hard-fought, physical battle between two tough-minded and determined men’s basketball teams. In the end, however, #14 Westmont (11-3) prevailed over British Columbia (12-4) by an 83-70 margin.

Five Warriors finished in double figures led by Cory Blau with 16 points. Sean Harman and Hayden Anderson each added 15, Sean McDonnell tallied 14 and Jerry Karczewski contributed 13.

A couple of early three-pointers by Blau and Harmon, sandwiched around a layup by David Gunn, helped the Warriors get off to an 8-5 lead. However, the Thunderbirds scored the next 10 points – including back-to-back threes by Taylor Browne (18 points) – to produce a 15-8 advantage with 13:55 remaining in the opening frame.

Westmont responded with a 15-3 run over the next six minutes to claim a 23-18 advantage. Karczewski and Anderson each struck from beyond the arc in that stretch.

With 6:05 remaining before the sounding of the halftime buzzer, Britton Williams scored on a jumper to put Westmont up 27-23. At that point, both defenses took over the game with neither team recording a field goal before intermission.

“There were four possessions in a row where it looked British Columbia was going to come down the court and score,” said Westmont head coach John Moore. “But we battled with hustle play after hustle play to keep them from scoring. That told me what this team is capable. I thought that tonight we came to the forefront defensively in new ways.”

A pair of successful free throws by Anderson and two more by Karczewski allowed the Warriors to take a 31-24 lead into the locker room.

With the score 35-31 after two minutes of play in the second half, Westmont’s defense stiffened again, preventing British Columbia from scoring for the next three minutes. Seven minutes into the second half, a three-point bucket by Harman gave the Warriors a 14-point advantage (47-33).

However, the Thunderbirds were not finished. Over the next two and one-half minutes, British Columbia put together a 14-0 run to tie the game at 47. Philip Jalalpoor kicked-off the run with a three-point shot before Browne scored 11 unanswered points – nine of which came on three shots from beyond the arc.

With the two teams still tied at 57 and just over six minutes remaining on the game clock, Jordan Jensen-White struck from downtown to put British Columbia up 60-57. It proved to be the last lead the Thunderbirds would hold.

Westmont finished off the final six minutes on a 26-10 run, including 10 from Anderson.

“To hold that team to 10 points in the last six minutes of the game is a real sign of tenacious play,” said Moore. “I thought the big three-pointers from the corner by Hayden and his clutch free throws were the difference makers tonight.”

Moore noted the play of several other players. “Sean McDonnell was undersized compared to British Columbia’s 6-9 guys, but all four of his offensive rebounds led to baskets for us. Brit Williams had 15 assists over the course of the tournament with only two turnovers. Sean Harman could be on every single all-tournament team even if he never scored a point.”

The six players named to the 2015 edition of the Tom Byron Classic included three Warriors – Blau, Karczewski and McDonnell. Named to the all-tournament team from British Columbia were Conor Morgan, who scored 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds against the Warriors, and Browne. Also named was Antelope Valley’s Franky Teran.

In the earlier game, Antelope Valley (6-7) edged Life Pacific (1-18) by a score of 70-69. Teran led the Pioneers with 21 points while Jacob Bowman contributed 14 points and eight rebounds. Life Pacific’s Blake Terry notched 21 points and Sean Broker had 12.

Westmont will play its next two games on the road beginning with a visit to Riverside on January 2 to take on La Sierra in an eight o’clock game. On Tuesday, January 5, the Warriors will face conference opponent and long-time rival Biola in La Mirada.

[game three box] [game three photos] [game four box] [game four photos]