WEST VALLEY — After two lopsided defeats, the West Valley boys varsity basketball team got back on track, by defeating North Collins 41-36 on Dec. 7. With the win, West Valley took home third place in the Joylan Theater Tournament, held in Gowanda. West Valley took a 20-13 lead into halftime and would hold on in the second half, for the Wildcats’ first win of the season.
“It was sloppy, but we did enough to win,” said West Valley coach Jason Kearney. “There were times when we played to our capability, but there were times when we couldn’t control the ball and our defense was weak. We did enough, when it mattered most.”
Leading West Valley in scoring was junior swingman Patrick Enser. Enser had a game-high 16 points, helping West Valley get in the win column. Through three games, Enser is averaging 14 points, per game.
“One thing that he’s worked on is moving without the ball,” said Kearney, of Enser.
“That’s one thing that I really stress. It’s not just being able to drive past everybody, or creating a shot with the dribble, but moving without the ball and moving into free space. He’s been doing that and we’ve been finding him for open, mid-range jump shots.”
Emil Erlandson finished with 12 points and Collin Proctor added 6 points. Derek Wells dished out a season-high six assists, while contributing 4 points, as well. West Valley was able to force some turnovers and run the floor against North Collins, according to Kearney.
In the opening game on the tournament, West Valley fell to Gowanda 60-33, on Dec. 5. The Wildcats struggled to defend Gowanda center Zack Stevens. Stevens, a 6-foot, 4-inch presence in the paint, scored all 15 of his points in the first half, before resting for much of the second half.
“They didn’t really have a true center and we knew that, coming in,” said Gowanda coach Andy Bobseine.
“We really wanted to take advantage of that mismatch. If we can start the ball down low and really work Zack, getting him some easy buckets early, that opens up everything on the perimeter.”
Gowanda stormed out on an 11-0 run, before West Valley’s Jared Ras finished off a drive, to make it 11-2. Gowanda would continue to add onto the lead, with fast-break points.
Enser led West Valley with 14 points and Derek Wells chipped in, with 8 of his own.
On Dec. 3, West Valley was defeated by Clymer 68-26, in their season opener. Enser had 13 points, in the loss.
West Valley will take on rival Ellicottville on Dec. 19.