West Liberty is Texas Bound for the Elite Eight

By Trent Nicholson, Contributing Writer 

The West Liberty Hilltoppers basketball team defeated Kutztown Univeristy in the Sweet 16 on Mar. 15th by a score of 85-­64 to punch their ticket into the Elite Eight. West Liberty had that game won all the way from the opening tip­off. As a matter of fact, Kutztown never had a lead over West Liberty in the entire game.

Senior forward Seger Bonifant and junior guard Devin Hoehn led the way for West Liberty each scoring 18 points a piece. Bonifant is now the all-­time leading scorer in West Liberty basketball history to reach 2,223 points overall. The previous record was set by Shane Maynard at 2,221 points overall from 2004­2009. Freshman guard David Dennis just missed a triple­double adding 15 points to the scoreboard. This is the Hilltoppers’ fifth Atlantic Regional title in the last six years.
No. 5 ­ranked West Liberty will make its fifth Elite Eight appearance in the last six years. The fourth-­seeded Hilltoppers (30-­3) will take on fifth­seeded Stonehill University (24-­8). West Liberty powered through the Atlantic Region with three straight double­digit wins to take home the title. The unranked Skyhawks survived back­to­back overtime thrillers to win the East Region, claiming an 82-­76 overtime win against Saint Anselm in the final.
This is only the second meeting between the two teams with both meetings coming in the Elite Eight quarterfinals. An unranked Stonehill squad overcame a double­digit second­half deficit to shock No. 3 West Liberty, 91-­90, in the 2012 Elite Eight quarterfinal. Stonehill is playing in its 14th NCAA Tournament and its third Elite Eight. The Skyhawks are 16­-16 all-­time in NCAA postseason play. West Liberty is playing in its eighth NCAA Tournament overall having the top
winning percentage (23-­7, .767) in NCAA tournament play among all division two teams with five or more post-­season appearances.
Senior foward Seger Bonifant said, ” I’m really excited to be heading to the Elite Eight. I’ve never been to Texas before, so it’s going to be so much fun! We have to stay focused and stay intense on defense for us to beat Stonehill.”
This Elite Eight matchup will be held in Frisco, Texas at the Dr. Pepper Arena. Tip­off is set for Wednesday, March 23 at 3:30 P.M. (EDT).


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