WESTVILLE — The General took command from the start.
St. Joseph-Ogden junior Chase "The General" Patton scored his team's first 15 points and helped the Spartans build an insurmountable lead against Bismarck-Henning.
SJ-O defeated the top-seeded Blue Devils 71-50 Friday night to win the Class 2A Westville Regional and clinch a berth in a home sectional.
"In games like this to hit shots early is big, and Chase's shots got us going," Spartans coach Brian Brooks said. "Our kids were so focused; that's the most focused I've seen them play all year. I told them if they were focused we'd have a chance, and they were exceptional today."
Patton hit four three-pointers in the first quarter to get the Spartans' offense started. He put up 15 of his game-high 24 in the period. The guard had extra motivation for this game after losing last year at this stage to Rantoul.
"I was feeling it; I was in the game. I love games like this, and we wanted this title," Patton said. "We remember the feeling of losing, and we didn't want to feel it again."
In the first quarter, B-H stayed in the game thanks to three treys by Stephen Krout. But after eight minutes, SJ-O led 22-11.
In the second quarter, fouls mounted for the Blue Devils and SJ-O took advantage, making 5 of 6 free throws. Good shooting and steady defense helped the Spartans carry a 36-19 lead into halftime.
After the break fouls began to even out, and SJ-O was the team quickly facing foul trouble. After shooting no free throws in the first half, the Blue Devils were suddenly at the line often.
B-H made 11 of 15 from the line in the second half, including 7 of 8 in the final period.
Krout and Tanner Ribbe led the Blue Devils with 16 points apiece.
As fouls added up, SJ-O also lost its handle on the ball. In the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, B-H scored 14 points off turnovers to draw within 11 points, 59-48.
Brooks calmed his team, however, and the Spartans made 6 of 10 free throws in the final minutes to clinch the win.
"If I had told the team that we'd be up 11 with 2 1/2 minutes to go before tonight they would have been pretty excited. So in the huddle we told them to relax and play," Brooks said.
Three Spartans besides Patton reached double figures. Corbin Hesterberg had 12, Brent Schluter 11 and Louis Acklin 10.
The regional championship is SJ-O's first since 2007. With the win, the Spartans advance to play Robinson on Wednesday in St. Joseph.
Getting to the SJ-O Sectional was a team goal "from Day 1," Brooks said.
After the game, Patton grinned from ear to ear and said, "We're going back home."