GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Unity Christian boys basketball coach Scott Soodsma wanted to give his senior point guard a quick break late in the third quarter of Tuesday’s Division 2 quarterfinal.
Noah Wiswary was having none of it.
“He asked me if I needed a break and I said, ‘No,’” Wiswary said. “This is the most important game of my life and I’m not coming out of this one.”
Wiswary was the catalyst for the Crusaders in a surprising 71-45 rout of rival South Christian before nearly 5,000 spectators at Calvin College.
With the win, Unity (24-2) advances to Friday’s Division 2 state semifinal at Michigan State’s Breslin Center and will face Ludington (14-10), which defeated Alma in similar fashion 65-32.
Wiswary tallied a game-high 15 points and dished out eight assists to go along with two steals.
“It’s a dream,” Wiswary said. “It’s something I’ve been waiting for my whole life and if I got to this point I would be the happiest man alive. I can’t wait, and it’s going to be so much fun.
“I just feed off my teammates’ energy and our whole team played good tonight. Hopefully we can continue that to the Breslin.”
Soodsma didn’t mind leaving Wiswary on the floor as long as he wanted after Unity built a 15-point halftime lead.
Wiswary’s fadeaway off one foot gave the Crusaders a 50-29 lead with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
“He was outstanding, and probably the best game of this career I think tonight,” Soodsma said. “He’s been on a charge the last few games and he’s a senior so he knows it’s keep winning or go home.
“He’s put a lot into the game and played a lot of basketball and it’s nice to see him reap some of those benefits right now.”
Senior Ryan Takens also played well and knocked down four three-pointers and finished with 14 points. Senior T.J. VanKoevering added 13 points and nine rebounds.
It will be the Crusaders’ first trip to the semis since 1973.
“My longtime assistant coach, Bruce Capel, and myself have been at this a long time and have come so close so many times,” Soodsma said. “We said it would be something special if we had the chance to get to the Breslin and now we’re going there and that will be fun.”
Senior Peyton Vis led the Sailors with 13 points, including three three-pointers, while senior Connor Kok had 10.
South, which had its 19-game winning streak snapped, was outrebounded 40-19 and shot only 31 percent from the field.
“We just couldn’t get set on defense and I thought Noah Wiswary had a really good game and we could not contain him and we just couldn’t find our guys tonight,” Sailors coach Jeff Meengs said. “We’ve played a lot against them the last few years and was not our night tonight. It was now the way we wanted it to go, but we had a lot of good games and we had eight seniors who we are going to miss.”
- Division 1: Okemos beats East Kentwood 50-45.
- Division 3: Pewamo-Westphalia beats Cassopolis 70-50.
- Division 4: Tri-Unity Christian beats Bellevue 62-31.