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West triumphs in county battle

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By Laura Clark

Shelby County West Middle School got a little revenge against East Middle on Tuesday night, topping the visiting Missiles, 48-24.

When the two teams met Nov. 19, East won, 45-40. In that game, West was without its big guy, Raphael Stone, who scored a game-high 16 points in Tuesday’s victory.

This time, it was East who was short-handed, missing point guard Jayon Winstead (a double-digit scorer) and Zac Wiley, a 6-foot center.

“When you look out and see someone’s personnel is what it was last time, you’ve still got to do your thing,” West coach Tim Pardee said. “I think that’s what we did; we didn’t worry about it.

“This is our home court, and we haven’t lost a home game. It didn’t matter who we were playing tonight, I think we were ready to go.”

"Ready to go" may have been an understatement. The Warriors opened the game “fired up,” according to East Coach J.R. Wiley, and jumped to a 17-3 first quarter lead.

The Warriors played a full-court press that all but negated an East offense. Add their quickness down the court and an inside height advantage, and the Missiles stood little chance at coming back.

“I think we’ve improved on it [the press] and realized we’ve got to get in spots,” Pardee said. “We can’t gamble, and that’s what we did early in the year: a lot of reaching, trying for steals.”

West didn’t get in the foul trouble it had in the November meeting and still got plenty of steals.

“They’re very long, athletic and quick,” Wiley said of West. “I thought we gave a very good effort tonight. We hustled, but sometimes you come up against a better team.”

The Warriors picked apart East’s 2-3 zone, Wiley said. Stone and Mesai Whyte did the inside work. Whyte added eight points for West.

Pardee praised the distributing work of point guards Deandre Farris and Brent Kidwell. East held Lawson Page to one 3-pointer. He’s coming off a couple of double-digit games.

“Page, that’s one of the people maybe they had to put a little emphasis on,” Pardee said. “So that freed some people up. He did a good job not forcing it.”

Both teams are looking to the conference championships at the end of January. East (10-7) hopes to return its two missing starters and make an underdog run in the post season. The Missiles do have several conference victories.

“If we don’t win our conference, I hope they do,” Wiley said of West. “They deserve it.”

West, meanwhile, has been riding a winning season (17-3) and feels redemption not only for beating East but also North Oldham (Jan. 5), which bested the Warriors early in the season. The goal, Pardee said, is 20 victories.

“I really feel like we’re getting better,” he said. “It’s taken us a while to gel, but I feel like we’re all coming around together.”