WOODS CROSS — Coming into Friday's Region 6 matchup between Woods Cross and East, Austin Bankowski had been accustomed to playing a different role.
The 6-foot-8 returning All-State center had started to be focused more in an offense that had him playing on the perimeter rather than controlling the block in the post.
The result — back-to-back games with offensive woes.
Friday, however, he returned to the paint and dropped a game-high 27 points and hauled in 10 rebounds to lead Woods Cross to a runaway 86-58 win.
"We made an adjustment this week of getting him (back on the post). We've been playing him more on the perimeter and less on the inside," said Wildcats coach Todd Street on Bankowski. "We changed the lineup a little bit and got Austin inside where he's tough to stop.
"We've struggled the last three games. We shot well tonight and it's nice to get back on the winning ways. The last two games have been in the 30s so to score (86) points was maybe not expected."
It was apparent early that Bankowski had an advantage down low and although his abundance of points wouldn't come until the second half, his defensive presence and offensive emergence caused East multiple problems.
Eventually, the physicality took a toll on the Leopards, allowing Bankowski to score 19 points after halftime.
"They kept getting the ball into me — it was just one of those days when you're feeling it," said Bankowski, "I threw up one shot where I was off-balance, and I shouldn't have shot it, but it went in. It's just one of those things, I guess."
"When I would kick it out, my guys were hittin' shots," continued Bankowski. "So that helped me a lot 'cause they couldn't double me."
However, the play of sophomore guard Zach Hunsaker stole the show. He was assigned the duty of stopping East's prolific scorer, Parker Van Dyke, who came into the matchup averaging just over 18 points. Hunsaker was able to do so with complete success, frustrating Van Dyke throughout the first half.
"Zach is long and deceptively quick. (Parker) Van Dyke is such a great scorer," said Street. "I put Zach on … their best scorer and he stepped up to the challenge."
The play of the night came courtesy of the Wildcats' Peter Howey. As time was expiring in the first half, the 6-7 center launched a three-quarter court shot and hit nothing but net.
"That was kind of poetic justice," said Street of the miracle shot. "I think we had as many points in the first half as we've scored in the last two games."