In their first ever trip to the boys’ state tournament the West Salem Panthers did not disappoint. The Panthers were able to hold on late against the Brillion Lions in the first game of the 2022 state tournament, 71-61.
West Salem was led by Carson Koepnick who finished with 26 points and eight rebounds as the Panthers improve to 27-1 on the season.
The Panthers jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the first half, Brillion cut the deficit to just two points at 18-16 and 20-18 but never held the lead in the game. West Salem hit a three-pointer as time expired at the end of the first half to take a halftime lead of nine and they never relinquished that lead for the remained of the game.
West Salem ripped down 24 offensive rebounds and scored 20-second chance points from those rebounds. Brett McConkey (14 points & 14 rebounds) and Peter Lattos (10 points and 12 rebounds) both finished with double-doubles on the afternoon for the Panthers.
Brillion was led by Jeremy Lorenz who finished one block shy of a triple-double (22 points, 14 rebounds and nine blocks). The Lions finish their season at 26-3 in their fourth trip to state in the last 12 years.
West Salem shot 35-percent from the field and finished 14-26 from the free throw line.
They will play for the division 3 state championship on Saturday afternoon against the winner of Lake Country Lutheran and Saint Thomas Moore.