Solid outside shooting early in the game carried the West High boys basketball team to a 74-66 win over Kimball High on Friday, Jan. 3, in West’s Steve Thornton Gymnasium.
West senior guard Kenneth Daye scored 17 of his 24 points in the first half, with five 3-point shots for the night, to lead the Wolf Pack (9-4) to a 32-27 lead at the half.
The Jaguars (10-3) kept threatening to close in on West, with Kimball senior guard Bryer Peet making eight 3-point shots, a Kimball school record, for his 24 total points.
“I’ve been working on (the outside shot) ever since I was a little kid, trying to get better and better,” Peet said.
West was still able to keep a lead of at least five points after the first quarter.
“We knew we were faster than them and knew we had to play up-tempo defense,” West sophomore guard Isaiah Grady said, adding that West made the transition to offense well. He scored nine points and had three steals and four assists for the night.
By the second half the Jaguars effectively guarded against the Wolf Pack’s outside shots. West’s Daye said his role shifted from outside shooter to getting the ball to the tall inside players, including senior Alvin Crenshaw and freshman Ephraim Estell.
“When they double-team me somebody has to be open,” Daye said. “I’m looking and I’ll be able to see my teammates for easy baskets.”
West took control of the inside in the second half as Crenshaw scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter.
West coach Derek Sprecksel added that his team made good choices shooting from the floor, mixing up the outside shots and inside opportunities.
“People weren’t forcing things that they shouldn’t have been forcing, and people were making the pass, the extra pass around the perimeter, giving up a good shot to make a great shot,” Sprecksel said.
The Jaguars were behind by 17 points early in the fourth when they started to close in on West. Kimball senior Jonah Laguana scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and junior Jhordin Mellion scored all of his eight points in the fourth as the Jaguars got within six points of West with about a minute left.
Both teams were effective from the free-throw line, with West hitting 15 of 16 free throws and Kimball going 12 for 17 from the line, including eight of eight shots for Laguana.
West plays again at home on Saturday, Jan. 4, against De La Salle of Concord, and next week’s games included a third regular-season contest against Tracy on Friday, Jan. 10, at Tracy High.
Next up for Kimball is the start of Valley Oak League play on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at home against East Union of Manteca.
“I told the kids that it’s the best we’ve ever finished in pre-season, 10-3,” Lawrence said. “We’ve been playing really well so I’m encouraged about league.”
Tracy 66, Oakdale 58
Tracy junior Druce Asah hit eight 3-point shots on his way to a 28-point night as the Bulldog basketball team went on the road on Friday, Jan. 3, for a 66-58 win at Oakdale. Also leading the Tracy team was senior Josh Brakkee with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Tracy held a 54-31 lead going into the fourth quarter. Tracy coach Junior Cueva said he got everybody on his team in the game, but Oakdale also got back in the game at the end to outscore Tracy 27-10 in the fourth quarter to get within eight points.
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.