West­lake boys hoops strives to make an­other deep post­sea­son run

Re­turn­ing trio of starters look to up­hold stan­dard for West­lake boys

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

For the last three sea­sons, head coach Ed­ward Mou­ton Sr. and the West­lake boys bas­ket­ball pro­gram have been right there on the cusp.

Last sea­son, the Wol- ver­ines’ sea­son ended in heart­break with a 79-69 road loss in the Class 2A South Re­gion cham­pi­onship game to Gwynn Park of Prince Ge­orge’s County in Brandy­wine.

Be­fore the 2015-16 sea- son, West­lake ad­vanced to back-to-back 2A state fi­nals that ended with a loss at Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land in Col­lege Park.

The West­lake crew re­turns just four play­ers for this sea­son, which in- cludes three starters from last year’s squad.

“Our goal ev­ery year is to get a step fur­ther and get to [Xfin­ity Cen- ter] and for the last three years we’ve been re­ally close, play­ing in two state cham­pi­onship games and was game away from states last year. We want to win a state cham­pion- ship,” said Mou­ton, who en­ters his fifth year at the helm, lead­ing the Wolver- ines to an 81-22 over­all record the last four sea­sons. “I think our guys are fo­cused and have been work­ing hard in prac­tice and to reach our goal we have to go to through the process and take care of the reg­u­lar sea­son and build team chem­istry be­fore we even get to the play­offs and make some noise for states.”

West­lake’s three start- ers from a year ago are se­nior guards Everett Mou­ton and Jeff Sim- mons and se­nior for­ward Amir Lawrence. They will be looked upon to carry the load this sea­son and be lead­ers as the team will have nine first-year varsi- ty play­ers who played on the ju­nior var­sity team a sea­son ago.

“I’m try­ing to get them some ex­pe­ri­ence right away, and var­sity ex­peri- ence,” said Mou­ton, re­fer- ring to his core of ju­niors who are new­com­ers to var­sity. “They will have to rec­og­nize how var­sity bas­ket­ball re­ally is. It is a learn­ing curve from JV to var­sity and they’re find­ing out how hard it is in prac- tice. They will be a big part in giv­ing us a lift and mak­ing a run to states.”

Lawrence, who was a force on the wing and on the inside with his tough­ness and re­bound­ing, av­er­aged 11.3 points, 7.2 re­bounds and 2.0 steals a game last sea­son.

Dur­ing the off­sea­son, Lawrence has ex­panded his game and has im­proved on his jump­shot, which will make him more dan­ger­ous threat on the perime­ter.

“This is my se­nior year and I want to go out with a bang, so in prac­tice we have to go hard ev­ery­day and take things se­ri­ously and tran­si­tion that to the game,” said the 6-foot-4 Lawrence, who made the All-County sec­ond team

last sea­son. “We have a lot of tal­ent, the fu­ture is bright. If we keep work­ing hard, we can go far this sea­son.”

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Sim- mons, who will be play­ing a vi­tal role at the point guard po­si­tion, was the team’s third-lead­ing scorer last sea­son at 13.0 points per con­test and he also led the team in min­utes played at 24 a game.

He was also an All-County sec­ond-team se­lec­tion.

“Last year it was tough los­ing

to Gwynn Park. We were just one game away from states,” Sim­mons said. “The coaches ex­pect me to be more of a leader and be the floor gen­eral and push the ball up the court as much as pos­si­ble.”

Mou­ton, who is cur­rently out un­til mid-Jan­uary with a torn menis­cus, is West­lake’s re­turn­ing long range shooter. He led SMAC in three-point­ers with 60, was the team’s lead­ing scorer at 13.7 points a con­test, and picked as All-South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence and All-County first-team se­lec- tions.

“We just want to make it as

far we can this year and get to states,” said the 6-foot-2 Mou­ton. “Right now I’m try­ing to be a leader off the court right now since I’m not on the floor. We have to push the younger guys.”

With Mou­ton out for all of De­cem­ber and the early part of Jan­uary, Sim­mons and ju­niors Wayne Young and A.J. Davis will be counted on to carry the load on the perime­ter dur­ing that span. Other ju­niors who could have a promis­ing sea­son are Vic­tor Aldridge and Larry Cly­burn.

West­lake, which fin­ished 19-5 over­all and tied with

North Point at 11-1 atop the SMAC Po­tomac divi­sion last sea­son, will be guard-heavy, ath­letic and will be smaller than most teams, but the older Mou­ton noted his team is go­ing to stick to what the Wolver­ines do.

“We want to bring pres­sure de­fense and play fast, quick and in a hurry. With not hav­ing a lot of bigs, we have to gang re­bound,” he said. “We want to play an up-tempo style.”

West­lake opens the sea­son at home ver­sus Great Mills at 6:30 p.m. Mon­day in a SMAC nondi- vi­sion matchup.

PHOTO BY WAL­LACE BAR­RON West­lake se­nior guard Jeff Sim­mons, pic­tured here go­ing up for a layup over Isa­iah Miles of Gwynn Park in last year’s Class 2A South Re­gion fi­nal, will be one of just three re­turn­ing starters in the Wolver­ines’ lineup for the 2016-17 sea­son.

PHOTO BY WAL­LACE BAR­RON West­lake’s Amir Lawrence, left, and Everette Mou­ton, pic­tured here de­fend­ing Justin Fai­son of Gwynn Park of Prince Ge­orge’s County in last year’s Class 2A South Re­gion cham­pi­onship game, are two of the three re­turn­ing starters for

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.