Photo: Westbrook Christian’s Grayson Wright (23) looks to move past Coosa Christian’s Eli Cameron during the Warriors’ 60-39 victory in boys basketball last Monday (Jan. 13) in Rainbow City. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
The Westbrook Christian boys basketball team learned the risk of shifting into cruise control earlier this week.
Leading Coosa Christian by 19 points midway through the second quarter last Monday (Jan. 13), the Warriors failed to score from the field for the remainder of the first half and well into the second. That 9:45 scoreless stretch allowed the Conquerors to draw within four points after a pair of free throws by Deonte Ford drew the visitors within 32-28 at the four-minute mark of the third quarter.
Sensing his that team needed to regroup, Westbrook head coach Matt Cody called a time-out in an effort to slow down Coosa’s momentum.
“I told them that we had to be more consistent with our energy,” said Cody. “We’ve got to bring it night in and night out to be successful. We’re not good enough to come out and beat anybody; we’ve got to play hard, from start to finish.”
The hosts apparently found a second wind following Cody’s pep talk. Westbrook closed out the quarter with a 14-2 run and led by at least 11 points the rest of the way in a 60-39 victory.
“We were able to get the ball to our big guys, Cade [Phillips] and Grayson [Wright] and letting them do what they do in the post,” said Cody. “Those two guys also did a good job of kicking the ball out so we could get some good looks at the three-point line.”
The Warriors connected eight times from the perimeter, including three treys from Grant Martin.
Also for Westbrook (11-9), Cade Phillips finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Grayson Wright contributed nine points and 15 boards. Joseph Gilchrist added eight points, while Andrew Lockridge chipped in six points, eight assists and six rebounds.
After Hunter Millirons’ basket gave the Conquerors their only lead of the night at 2-0, Westbrook responded with an 18-2 run that featured a pair of three-pointers from Lockridge and put the hosts ahead to stay.
The Warriors’ outside game continued to click in the second period, as two three-pointers from Martin and another by Gilchrist helped push the advantage to 29-10 with 4:24 remaining in the first half.
But the Westbrook shooters soon fell into a collective funk, and Evan Delp helped get Coosa back into the game by scoring every point of a 9-0 run that drew the visitors within 30-19 at halftime. Delp scored 11 of his points during the second quarter.
The Conquerors continued to hammer away following intermission. Isaiah Cole’s three-point basket 40 seconds into the second half and Ford’s two free throws at the four-minute mark of the third period bookended a 13 to 2 stretch that cut the Westbrook lead to 32-28 and moved Cody to use a time-out. The Warriors built a 44-31 cushion by the start of the fourth quarter, and Westbrook outscored the Conquerors 16 to 8 over the final eight minutes.
Britton added 10 points for Coosa Christian.
“We played super-hard, but we made some fundamental mistakes and tried to do too much in certain situations,” said Coosa head coach Jim Bogle. “But we’re young, and the defense that I run takes about a year and a half to learn. We’ll get there.”