Led by Derek Krogmann’s 23 points, the West Delaware boys basketball team opened Class 3A sub-state play with a 62-37 win at home over the West Liberty Comets Feb. 18.

Playing their first game in nine days, Derek Krogmann scored the first five Hawk points as West Delaware led 5-4 before a West Liberty basket gave the Comets their only lead of the game at 6-5.

Kyle Kelley, returning from an injury suffered late in the season, knocked down a jump shot to give the lead back to the Hawks. A Mitch Krogmann basket and a three-pointer by Kelley made it 12-6 before Derek Krogmann’s free throw at the end of the quarter gave West Delaware a 13-6 lead.

The Hawks extended that lead in the second quarter with baskets by Logan Woellert and Derek Krogmann before West Liberty scored with a pair of free throws to make the score 17-8.

After back-to-back Hawk turnovers, West Liberty cut the lead to 17-10 before a pair of baskets by Woellert gave the Hawks a 21-10 lead.

West Delaware increased its lead with a three-pointer by Blake DeMoss and a basket by Mitch Krogmann. West Liberty answered with a basket and pair of free throws to get within 26-14.

Gavin Soppe’s three-pointer made it 29-14 in favor of the Hawks before a pair of baskets by the Comets cut the lead to 29-18. Another Soppe three-pointer at the buzzer gave the Hawks a 32-19 halftime lead.

West Delaware committed ten first-half turnovers.

“You could tell we hadn’t played in nine days,” said head coach Matt Uthoff. “Every one of those turnovers was unforced, either off bad footwork or an interesting pass.”

While Kelley returned from an injury, Logan Winn was unavailable due to an injury suffered last week in practice.

“It’s been a unique week,” Uthoff admitted. “Kyle’s starting to practice a bit but Logan (Winn) went down, so we’ve been mixing and matching some lineups that really haven’t had a chance of playing together.”

Kelley hit a three-pointer and Derek Krogmann scored inside to give West Delaware a 37-19 lead before West Liberty scored on a three-pointer by Austin McMichael.

Derek Krogmann scored down low again and was fouled, making his free throw for a 40 – 22 Hawk lead.

After a West Liberty three-pointer, Derek Krogmann scored inside again and DeMoss hit his second three-pointer of the game to make it 45-25. After a basket by Derek Krogmann, West Liberty would score to make it 45-29.

Another basket by Derek Krogmann and a jump shot by Soppe gave West Delaware a 51-29 lead after three quarters.

Derek Krogmann’s offensive rebound and put back to start the fourth quarter made it 53-32. West Liberty responded with a free throw and basket before Kelley’s pass found Eric Salow for two.

West Liberty answered with a 5-0 run before a Kelley three pointer and baskets by Derek Krogmann and Mitch Krogmann made it 62-37.

Uthoff recognized Soppe for his play. “If I were to say there was a player of the game tonight, it was Gavin. He hit two three-pointers for us and hit a nice shot in the second half. He held their best kid, who is averaging 20 points a game, to two points tonight. Gavin did a tremendous job.”

Uthoff said that despite limiting West Liberty to 37 points, his team can be better defensively. “I felt like we got beat on some 50-50 balls and at times had some rotations not where they needed to be. Part of that is not playing for a while. Obviously, there is room for improvement, but at this point in the game our motto is survive and advance.”

Other scorers for the Hawks were: Kelley 11, Soppe eight, DeMoss, Woellert and Mitch Krogmann six, Jamison Smith two.