Joe Guerrero believes his Bowsher boys basketball team has six players with the kind of dynamic offensive game that can hoist a team onto their shoulders.
Star forward Nate Allen boasted that the Rebels have at least four or five such threats.
In Friday night’s Division I boys basketball sectional final at Waite, Bowsher proved again how nice it must be to lose track.
Allen scored the Rebels’ first 16 points of their 76-70 win over Southview, then got help from one of his many co-stars as the City League champions withstood a late fight.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here for more photos from this game
After Allen had 23 of his game-high 28 points in the first half, Aundre Kizer scored 17 of his 20 in the second — the faucet continuing to gush from a Bowsher team with four players averaging at least 15.6 points per game. Jason Sandridge and Cameron White added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Rebels (21-2), ranked eighth in Division I, will play Central Catholic in a district semifinal on Thursday at the University of Toledo.
"Let's face it, whoever plays them has matchup issues all over the board," Southview coach Bruce Smith said. "You plug one hole in the wall, another one spews water. We just had matchup issues everywhere, and they don't wait around for you to adjust. When you're out of position, you're usually giving up a layup."
Southview made sure Bowsher would not cut down the nets without a tension-filled finish. Nate Hall had 25 points, Matt Morrison added 18, and the Cougars went on a 15-6 run to cut a deficit that stood at 12 points early in the fourth quarter to three.
They had two opportunities to tie the game in the final minute, only for a steal by Bowsher with 33 seconds left to douse the threat. Southview was forced to foul, and White hit a pair of free throws to push the Rebels ahead 75-70.
"It was stressful but we seniors had to make something happen," Allen said. "We want to make it all the way down to Columbus. We've got to do whatever it takes."
Ultimately, the punch of Allen early and Kizer late was too much.
Allen scored every which way. The 6-4 senior powered to the basket, put down a one-handed slam in transition, and could not miss from deep. He hit his first six 3-pointers, most of which did not touch the rim. Kizer said he had never seen his teammate so hot.
What does such a scorching touch feel like?
"It's good," Allen said. "I work on my shot every day after practice and before practice. It's hard work."
Kizer then stepped in as Southview intensified its focus on Allen, time and again knifing inside. He scored 17 of the Rebels’ 19 points during a stretch spanning the final two quarters.
Bowsher and its seven seniors were moving on, with bigger prizes in sight.
"This is great for our seniors who have worked so hard," Guerrero said. "All season, our focus has been on the end of the year, and here we are."
Southview finished 16-7 in Smith’s first year on the Cougars bench after 22 years at Whitmer.
"I’m very pleased with the performance of my team," Smith said. "As good as we were this year, we fully expect to be better in a year."