It was only a matter of time before the Morristown West Trojans grabbed a win in District 2-AAA.
That win came on Friday night at Mike R. Reed Gymnasium as the Trojans defended their homecourt with the Seymour Eagles in town. What opened up to be a back-and-forth game, West managed to break away from Seymour enough to hold on in the end with a 51-40 win.
“Any day we can grab a win, we are going to embrace it,” head coach Jonathan Smith of West said. “We had a bit of a sloppy finish but we found a way to hold on. No matter how we played, we found a way to win our first district game. We haven’t had the feeling yet this season.”
West (5-4, 1-4 District 2-AAA) has searched for district win in its last five games and finally got it against Seymour (1-14, 0-5 District 2-AAA)
Joey Hancock and Ryan Shafer led the way for the Trojans as Hancock finished with 17 points and Shaffer followed with 15.
“Hancock has worked so hard in the offseason to have games like tonight,” Smith said. “He is someone that will be a force for us and we need him playing like that. He had some key baskets in the fourth quarter.”
Hancock scored seven of his points in the final quarter to stretch West’s lead to 16 points entering the final minute.
Seymour had no answer with that kind of deficit so late in the game.
Ian Sonner was the Eagles’ top scorer with a game-high 21 points.
The Trojans had a difficult time separating themselves from Seymour in the first quarter as they traded the lead four times in the first eight minutes.
Ten of Shafer’s points came in the second quarter where he nearly single-handedly outscored the Eagles himself. He knocked down a pair of triples and had a couple of tough finishes underneath the basket to give West a nice lead at the half.
“Shafer is knocking down multiple 3s for us each game now,” Smith said. “He has been huge. Whenever we can get our guards and our big men to have a common goal and work together in these last four games of the regular season, it will be very interesting. I’m excited to see what we can do.”
West entered the second half with a 27-21 advantage.
“We wanted to make sure we controlled the paint in the second half,” Smith said. “I think we did a lot better job at that. Hancock and Elijah Davis did an excellent job grabbing rebounds and giving us second chance opportunities.”
The third quarter took a toll on both teams as neither could find the basket. West and Seymour combined for only six made field goals but a three-point play by Hancock was the difference and gave West a 37-29 lead.
Hancock came alive in the fourth quarter scoring nearly half of his points, including back-to-back baskets in the final two minutes to truly seal the deal.
“I don’t think we have truly figured out how to win yet,” Smith said. “We haven’t been used to playing with the lead this year so this game was good for us. We were able to hang on. I hope this can carry over into the next stretch of games because I think we can win in this district.”
The Trojans are back on the hardwood on Tuesday on the road against Cocke County where they will try to grab another District 2-AAA victory.