Westminster Christian junior forward Robert Kleczynski has been back for several weeks after missing a huge chunk of the season with a shoulder injury suffered in his team’s own Thanksgiving tournament.
He looked like someone fresh, well-rested and ready to explode at the outset of Wednesday’s semifinal game of the Class 1A Harvest Christian Regional against Universal.
Kleczynski raced up and down the court for his team’s first seven points and nine of their first 12 en route to 17 for the game in an 84-34 Warriors victory.
“We missed him in December,” Westminster coach Bruce Firchau said after his 16-12 team earned a title opportunity Friday against Harvest Christian. “What a difference maker. He gives us so much quickness and he makes us better defensively as well as offensively.”
Kleczynski raced up the court on fast breaks twice for layups, hit three free throws and had another layup after Sam Carani’s three-point play.
Universial had trouble with Westminster’s trap and kept committing turnovers, leading to easy buckets. Westminster scored 37 of the game’s first 41 points.
“I guess all season long we’ve been working on fast breaking and get the ball and just get up and go,” Kleczynski said. “It’s what I bring to the team, I guess.”
Westminster got 12 points from Brian McDonaugh and played reserves extensively in piling up the easy win before turning its attention to its rival school for Friday night.
“They’ve got a couple of good players, it’s just going to be a matter of playing hard and executing our offense, shutting them down on defense. Coach always stresses defense starts our offense and that’s our most important weapon.”
Universal (5-13) had eight points from junior Amer Abdallah and seven from junior Mahmoud Radwan.
“We started out rough and finished strong,” Universal coach Timothy Ferguson said, pointing out Universal didn’t win until holiday tourney time. “We got a first-round win on Monday here and played our best and they got the best of us.
“We have basically a young squad. We’re only going to lose one guy.”