Westlake boys claim Holiday Hoops crown
Wolverines capture Waldorf Holiday Hoops Classic title
After coasting to a 77-61 home victory over Montgomery Coun- ty’s Gaithersburg in Day 1 of the Waldorf Holiday Hoops Classic Wednesday, the Westlake boys basketball team found them- selves in a dogfight on Thursday afternoon in the championship game versus Maine-Endwell of New York.
In what was a back-and forth, low-scoring affair throughout the game, Maine-Endwell gave Westlake all it could handle with timely outside shooting and back-door cuts.
However, with pressure defense and key free-throw shoot- ing in the fourth quarter, the Wolverines held on for the 7166 victory at North Point High School.
The two-day tournament fea- tured eight boys and girls teams which were broken up into two different brackets with teams from New York, Virginia and Maryland. Thursday’s cham- pionship game for Westlake served as the Westlake bracket championship.
“They had a Princeton style offense, very patient and ran a lot of time off the game clock and when we broke down they got a layup,” said Westlake head coach Edward Mouton Sr., whose team is on a three-game win streak. “That came with discipline and us not talking on defense. We work on that in prac- tice everyday and it just hasn’t transitioned to the game yet. This is a process and we are im- proving every game to prepare for playoffs.”
Westlake (6-2 overall after los- ing to Wilson of Washington, D.C. on Saturday) trailed three times in the fourth quarter, including 59-58 with 3 minutes 54 seconds left after a three-pointer from Spartans guard Jeremiah Brown (10 points), one of his three-three-pointers. Brown fouled out during the period.
But the Wolverines were able to force turnovers and score in transition, responding with a 12-8 spurt to end the game . The team also nailed 10 of 12 free throws during that span.
Westlake hit 25 of 34 (73 percent) free throws for the game and was spearheaded by seniors Amir Lawrence (game-high 25 points) and Jeff Simmons (20 points).
“This was a big win for us with the New Year approaching,” said Lawrence. “It was a tough game,
they were very disciplined. We just threw different defenses at them and got turnovers at critical times.”
Simmons, who made 11 of 15 free throws in the game, was able to penetrate through the Spartans defense to create scoring chances.
“This was a confidence booster for us. We didn’t do too good versus Ryken a couple weeks ago,” said Simmons, who also had eight rebounds. “We are still bringing it together and have some work to do.”
The Spartans took a 16-15 first quarter lead, but Westlake would go up 36-32 at halftime and led 5047 after three quarters.
Also contributing for Westlake was junior guard Joseph McKoy with 11 points off the bench. Junior Jonathan Barnes finished with a team-high 11 rebounds to go along with three blocks for the Wolverines.
Maine-Endwell (2-6), which defeated St. Charles 47-43 on Wednesday at Westlake, was led by junior Cody Petro, who scored a team-high 18 points, and junior Tyree Bradley, who finished with 17 points and nailed five threes in the game.
Shane Bryant, who fouled out in the game, added 13 points. The Spartans made 11 three-pointers in the contest.
“I was definitely proud of our kids, we decided from a game plan standpoint that we wanted to make sure that No. 1 [Simmons] had a tough day and the rest of their kids didn’t beat us around the basket,” said Maine-Endwell head coach Bill Ocker, whose team played several zone defenses during the game. “I thought we scrapped as hard as we could, but Westlake got to the foul line and exerted their well athletically on us late in the game. And it was just to difficult to overcome.”
Westlake senior guard Jeff Simmons lays it up for two of his 20 points in the 71-66 win over Maine-Endwell (N.Y.) in the Westlake boys bracket championship in the Waldorf Holiday Hoops Classic at North Point High School on Thursday afternoon. Simmons leads the team in scoring with 23 points a game.
Westlake junior forward Jonathan Barnes fights for possession of the ball with several Maine-Endwell players in Thursday’s 71-66 win in the Westlake boys bracket championship at the Waldorf Holiday Hoops Classic at North Point High School.