TAKE IT TO THE TOP — West Valley’s Derek Wells goes up for a shot against a Riverside defender, during a recent game. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
WEST VALLEY — The West Valley boys varsity basketball team fell to North Collins 42-39 on Jan. 13. West Valley struggled offensively in the first half and then defensively in the second half, according to West Valley coach Jason Kearney.
At halftime, the Wildcats had 11 points, but they would score 15 in the third quarter alone, to trail by 2 points, heading into the fourth quarter. The game would go back and forth before North Collins would grab the lead for good and hand West Valley its eighth loss of the season.
“We made a lot of adjustments at halftime, but it just wasn’t enough,” said Kearney. “I don’t know if we’re just being too stubborn, as a team. We’re not running through the offense at all, at times, and we just start to get panicky. Instead of just staying focused and running through our sets, we start to get panicky and just throw up a shot. That really gets us out of a rhythm.”
Despite the loss, West Valley’s Emil Erlandson scored a game-high 17 points. Erlandson also pulled down 10 rebounds, for his first double-double of the season. Kearney said he has been happy with what he’s seen from the junior forward, of late.
“He’s been staying under control,” said Kearney. “He’s not forcing stuff up. Emil is using his right and left hand better and he’s just going to the rack a lot stronger. He was getting a lot of offensive rebounds and a lot of his points were just off post moves.”
Derek Wells added 12 points and five assists, while Pat Enser grabbed eight rebounds, in the loss.
West Valley was upended by Pine Valley 65-23 on Jan. 9. West Valley was leading 11-7, late in the first quarter, before Pine Valley would find their groove. Kearney said he liked what he saw from his team, in the opening minutes.
“We were playing good defense but more importantly, we were sharing the ball,” said Kearney. “We had five buckets on transition, just beating [Pine Valley] down the floor and sharing it. We weren’t being selfish; we weren’t taking bad shots.”
West Valley would be outscored 58-12, the rest of the way, while giving up 28 offensive rebounds.
“They wanted it more,” said Kearney. “Every 50/50 ball went to Pine Valley. They secured the ball with two hands, while we were too often just tipping it with one hand or taking off with the ball, before we secured it. We just got outhustled.”
Erlandson led West Valley with 6 points and grabbed eight rebounds. The Wildcats were without starters Collin Proctor and Jared Raz in the game, as both were sidelined.
West Valley traveled to Ellicottville on Jan. 16.