TAKE IT AWAY — Dylan Westfall attacks the basket following a steal. Photos by Dave DeLuca.
EYE ON THE PRIZE — Colton Myers takes a shot against North Collins.
WEST VALLEY — West Valley Central School’s boys varsity basketball team lost the first leg of a home-and-home series with North Collins 61 – 37. The Dec. 14 game dropped West Valley’s record to 0 – 2 in league and 0 – 4 overall.
Leading the Wildcats was Mike Grigsby, who had a double-double, with 16 points and 11 rebounds, in the loss. He also racked up seven steals.
“He is starting to assert himself, on both ends, like we know he can. [He has] to be more consistent at it,” said Coach Jay Kearney.
North Collins was led by senior Jared Keppel’s 34 points. Keppel is a three-year starter who averaged 23 points, per game, last season.
West Valley’s Colton Myers scored 9 points and Dylan Westfall finished with 4.
“Myers was never able to get into a rhythm,” Kearney said. “He was in foul trouble, all night. Our first half defense and rebounding was pretty good, especially in the first quarter, but the second half was sloppy, especially in the third quarter, when North Collins put up 23 points. We had a very poor shooting night. We had trouble finishing, around the hoop.”
The Wildcats were down 25 – 16 at halftime, but North Collins pulled away, during the second half.
West Valley looked to avenge its home loss to North Collins, by going on the road to play that team again, in the second leg of the home-and-home series.
Monday Dec. 17, saw a battle of each team’s top scorers.
West Valley’s scoring duo of Myers and Grigsby combined, for 38 points. North Collin’s scoring duo of Keppel and Jared Bauerlein combined, for 50 points.
Missing in the lineup for West Valley was 6 foot, 3 inch senior Brandon Rockwood, due to illness.
North Collins took a 37 – 23 lead at halftime and held on in the second half, sweeping the home-and-home series with a 65 – 50 win against the visiting Wildcats. North Collins took a 8 – 0 lead, to begin the game.
Kearney said that he has been shuffling his lineup around, all season, due to player illnesses.
“It’s been difficult to start out in rhythm, because we have had so many kids sick,” he said. “We prepare with our starters during practice for certain situations and, before I know it, we have more flu-like stuff going around, again.”
North Collins had the edge in free throws, attempting 43 to West Valley’s 15. Both teams made 20 shots from the field.
Kearney said that fouls were a large part of the game. “It was difficult to get on a roll,” he said. “I had two kids foul out and three of my other starters with four fouls and were in foul trouble. A lot of the fouls came out of frustration and poor defensive position. Every time we fouled, they were going to the line. Our fouling really hurt us. Both team made 20 baskets from the field, so the difference came at the foul line.”
This was the third game of the season in which the WVCS boys found themselves down, after the first quarter. The Wildcats won the second half scoring, during their first two games, but could not climb all the way back.
They held the advantage of second half scoring against North Collins 29 – 28, but could not overcome that first half deficit.
“When we get down like we did, we tend to force the issue and panic at times and not take as good of shots as we want and throw something up, instead of working the ball around,” Kearney said.
“I told them I didn’t want any more outside shots. I wanted every shot from the guys; the result of attacking the basket.”
Myers scored 21 points, during the loss, and Grigsby scored 17. Marcus Enser filled in for Brandon Rockwood, pulling down 10 rebounds. Westfall scored 6 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
“There is some frustration, but more disappointment, I think,” Kearney said. “We have been in some very close games [and] just came out on the short end of things. The kids know what we need to improve on and we have been. As it was before, we are just putting all the pieces together. The season is still young and there is a lot of up sides, when everything comes together.”
The Wildcats played Clymer on Dec. 20 and will soon head to the Springville Holiday Tournament.