West­lake boys claim Hol­i­day Hoops crown

Wolver­ines cap­ture Wal­dorf Hol­i­day Hoops Clas­sic ti­tle

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

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.”

PHOTO BY WAL­LACE BAR­RON

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.

PHOTO BY WAL­LACE BAR­RON

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.

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