BY CHAD DARE
After sitting out his sophomore year, Bismarck-Henning center Wilde Garowski missed the game so much that he knew he had to return the Blue Devils basketball program for his junior season.
The 6-foot-7, 295-pound Garowski is definitely an imposing figure on the low block and on Tuesday night, he scored 13 points and pulled down nine rebounds to help Bismarck-Henning to a 58-28 victory over the Armstrong-Potomac Trojans in the Vermilion County Tournament at the David S. Palmer Arena.
“It’s been fun and interesting,” said Garowski, who played sparingly as a freshman. “I missed it a lot last year. I don’t know why I didn’t go out. I just wasn’t feeling it, but I knew that I had to come back this year.”
His presence along with Austin Reinken, a 6-foot-2 forward, is a powerful 1-2 punch on the low block for the Blue Devils, who improved to 15-3 overall.
Garowski and Reinken combined for 22 points and 21 rebounds in the win, while they combined to hold Armstrong-Potomac center Shawn Johnson to just four points and eight rebounds.
“That’s what those guys need to be doing,” Bismarck-Henning coach Jon Clapp said. “We definitely have the size advantage in this game and we needed to make sure that we working hard.
“Just because we were bigger that doesn’t mean we are going to get every rebound.”
With Reinken pulling down a game-high 12 boards, the Blue Devils had a 40-31 advantage in rebounds.
“Their big guys have had some really good games against us,” Armstrong-Potomac coach Mike Twidwell said. “Shawn tries to be tough with (Garowski), but he still finds a way to get the ball down there.”
Garowski said having Reinken at the power forward position creates more opportunities for him.
“Most people key in on me a lot,” Garowski said. “That opens things up on the inside for Reinken, and when he gets going, teams than start focusing on him and it opens things back up for me.”
And when teams start concentrating on the Bismarck-Henning inside duo of Garowski and Reinken, opportunities open up for the Blue Devils’ guards as senior Austin Toler had a game-high 20 points.
“When we get the ball inside and then kick it back out, it’s easier to get open shots and opportunities to attack the lane,” Clapp said.
Armstrong-Potomac, which fell to 0-18, shot just 20.3 percent (12-of-59) from the field and the Trojans committed 14 turnovers to just four for the Blue Devils.
“We came out totally lackadaisical, it was almost like we didn’t want to be here,” Twidwell said. “We were standing a lot offensively. There was no continuity to our motion offense.”
Wade Rogers scored a team-high 12 points for Armstrong-Potomac.
Both Armstrong-Potomac and Bismarck-Henning will be back in action on Thursday night. Armstrong-Potomac will play Hoopeston Area in a 5 p.m. game, while Bismarck-Henning plays Westville for the Pool B championship at 8 p.m.