West boys thunder past East

WALLBURG | A three-game winning streak may not seem like much right now, but West Davidson will gladly take it as it comes.

The Dragons picked up their third straight win with a rousing 63-42 victory over East Davidson in the first round of the NewBridge Bank Christmas Classic Basketball Tournament Wednesday night at the Ledford gymnasium.

After a slow first half in which West held an 18-12 lead at the intermission, the Dragons caught fire and blistered East 45-30 over the final 16 minutes.

“I thought we played really good defense the first half, but we weren’t patient on offense,” said first-year West coach Derrick Stokes, whose team is now 3-7 overall. “We weren’t taking quality shots and we talked about that at the half — if we could put our offense with the defense, we knew that we might have something.

“And that’s what we did in the second half.”

The spanking actually began in the third period when Dragons came out with an 11-2 run that put the Eagles on their heels the rest of the game.

Keyed by Tyler Grooms, Zach Queen and Austin Teague, the Dragons simply ran past a befuddled East squad. West also swished seven 3-pointers in the game.

“Overall as a team we really boxed out and stuck to our game plan to stop the key players that we needed to stop,” said Stokes, referring to East’s Taylor Booze, who had just six points, and Braxton Shetley, who had just two. “I thought we did as great job staying with what we talked about.”

East, meanwhile, seemed lost.

“We really struggled tonight and I don’t have an explanation,” said East coach Matt Jacobs. “I know that’s as bad as we can possibly be.

“I guess maybe I should change my priorities and make them practice on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day,” said Jacobs, seemingly only half joking. “My bad on that. I don’t know. I don’t have an explanation.”

The only bright spot for East came from point guard Matthew Johnson, who knocked down 17 points for the game.

“I think most of the 3’s that West hit wasn’t even out of their offense,” said Jacobs. “It was out of our not being where we needed to be defensively. And not getting the loose balls. And not knowing who we were guarding. As good as we’ve been on defense lately, we were that bad today.”

West Davidson, on the other hand, is beginning to feel some confidence under Stokes.

“The system we run is very complicated,” said Stokes. “It’s hard to put in one year. But the kids are doing an outstanding job and they’re starting to pick it up. You can see it. They’re getting confident. Now they know what they’re doing do now all they have to do is play basketball.

“Before, they were trying to think too much,” said Stokes. “So we’ll see.”

Grooms pave the way for West with 23 points — 11 of them in the critical third period — while Queen chipped in with 11 points.

Today’s games will see the Southeast Guilford girls take on East Davidson at 4 p.m., followed by the West Davidson boys against Southeast Guilford at 5:30 p.m. The South Davidson girls face Ledford at 7 p.m., while the Ledford boys entertains Central Davidson at 8:30 p.m.