Sim­mons scores 39 as West­lake boys top Lackey

Sim­mons scores 39 points as West­lake boys down Lackey

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

Jeff Sim­mons has qui­etly stamped him­self as one of the top play­ers in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence.

In Wed­nes­day night’s SMAC Po­tomac Di­vi­sion con­test at Lackey, the West­lake senior guard put on a scor­ing dis­play with a game-high 39 points en route to the Wol- ver­ines’ 67-51 vic­tory over the Charg­ers in In­dian Head.

West­lake (16-4, 9-1 SMAC Po­tomac) is still atop the di­vi­sion and with two reg­u­lar sea- son games left and can clinch the Po­tomac ti­tle and earn a berth the SMAC cham­pi­onship game against the win­ner of the Ches- apeake Di­vi­sion with a win Wed­nes­day at home ver­sus St. Charles. Tip-off is sched­uled for 7 p.m.

Lackey (15-4, 7-3) won the first meet­ing this sea­son over West­lake, 61-56 on Jan. 13. In a 66-23 vic­tory over Patux­ent on Jan. 11, a group of West­lake play­ers — all five nor­mal starters who were sent to the bench early due to the lop­sided score — left the bench af­ter an al­ter­ca­tion due to a foul on a play. As a re­sult, the play­ers re­ceived a one-game sus­pen­sion and there­fore did not play in that con­test.

The Lackey de­fense did not have an an­swer in Wed­nes­day’s re­match for the 6-foot2, 190-pound Sim­mons as he scored the Wolver­ines’ first nine points of the game and 15 of the team’s first 19 points en route to 29 first-half points.

“It was im­por­tant that he got off to a quick start and get us go­ing so that we could feed off of him,” West­lake head coach Ed­ward Mou­ton Sr said. “Once he got it go­ing, peo­ple started con­verg­ing on him and he set his team­mates up. When he’s got it go­ing

like that he’s very hard to stop be­cause he can go in­side or out, so you have to pick your poi­son. The bas­ket was like ocean, ev­ery­thing that he put up seemed like it was go­ing in the bucket. The kid puts a lot of work in the gym and when you put that amount of work in you hope and pray for pos­i­tive re­sults and tonight was a cas­ing point.”

West­lake led 13-12 af­ter one quar­ter. In the sec­ond, Sim- mons started to get in his zone, ex­plod­ing for 20 points in the pe­riod alone to give the Wolver- ines a 37-27 half­time lead.

Sim­mons, who has car­ried the scor­ing load all sea­son for the Wolver­ines to go with his leader- ship in the back­court, is av­erag- ing 22.1 points per game con­test. He also had a 39-point per­for- mance in an 81-66 road win over St. Charles on Jan. 20, which like Wed­nes­day stands as his high­est point to­tal of the sea­son.

“It didn’t mat­ter what de­fense they were. The rim was def­i­nitely like an ocean tonight and I knew what­ever shot I found I was go­ing to take it,” said Sim­mons, who shot 12 of 18 from the field, nail­ing eight threes on the night and was 7 of 10 from the free-throw line. “My team- mates were able to get me open shots, too.”

The Wolver­ines were also with start­ing senior guard Ever- ette Mou­ton, who was deemed aca­dem­i­cally in­el­i­gi­ble for the re­main­der of the sea­son.

“We are miss­ing a cou­ple play- ers, but we just have to play no mat­ter who we have,” Sim­mons said. “It will be a dif­fer­ence, we just have to con­tinue to stay to­gether.”

West­lake took a 40-27 lead to open the third quar­ter, but Lackey got to within 48-40, but did not come any closer as it still trailed 51-42 en­ter­ing the fourth.

The Wolver­ines pushed their lead back to dou­ble dig­its to close out the game.

Senior for­ward Amir Law- rence fin­ished with 17 points to go with 10 re­bounds to help an­chor the scor­ing on the in­side for the Wolver­ines.

Lackey had just one player in dou­ble fig­ures for the game as senior guard Ha­keem Everett fin­ished with 12 points. Rasheed Coo­ley scored nine points off the bench, while se­niors Vin­cent Parker, James Wilk­er­son and Destin In­gram added seven.

“We tried to make it dif­fi­cult for him and be­sides two or three shots we did, but he just made great shots, and great play­ers make great plays and he did that tonight,” said Lackey head coach Sean Fox of Sim­mons. “We just have to change our shot se­lec­tion and we should be all right for Fri­day.”

Lackey is sched­uled to travel to St. Charles for a di­vi­sion con­test at 6:30 p.m. Fri­day.

PHOTO BY JERRY BALLENGEE

West­lake senior guard Jeff Sim­mons goes up for two of his game-high 39 points in a 6751 vic­tory over host Lackey in a SMAC Po­tomac Di­vi­sion boys bas­ket­ball con­test in In­dian Head on Wed­nes­day night.

PHOTO BY JERRY BALLENGEE

West­lake senior for­ward Amir Lawrence goes up for two of his 17 points in a 6751 vic­tory over host Lackey in a SMAC Po­tomac Di­vi­sion boys bas­ket­ball con­test in In­dian Head on Wed­nes­day night.

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