NEWPORT — Morristown West came into the Cocke County gym on a snowy Tuesday night, ready to take on the Fighting Cocks and bounce back from Friday night’s loss to Morristown East.
Morristown West opened the game on a 21-2 run and never looked back as they cruised to a 78-21 win, their largest win of the season.
“I am excited that, that was our response (to Friday night’s loss),” Morristown West coach Jonathan Smith said. “Friday can be an opportunity for us to learn and grow to what we can possibly be. Yesterday was the best practice we had all year. We played with a chip on our shoulder. Hopefully we can correlate a practice like that to a win like tonight every game.”
The usuals for the Trojans, Trent Lovelace and Chase Smith, were their normal selves with 22 and 10 points apiece. Lovelace hit five three-pointers despite playing just a little over a half.
However, it wasn’t just the starters who produced for Morristown West as 11 players scored in the game for the Trojans. Brady Cornett had 10 points off the bench while Elijah Davis had eight points of his own. The reserves didn’t just see playing time in the waning minutes of the game either with all 13 players on the team playing in the first half.
The reserves made it fun, throwing behind the back passes and making fancy play after fancy play.
“Our JV team is 5-0, and that shows that we have some young talent that can play,” Smith said. “It was good to see them shine and do good things.”
Chase Smith got things going for the Trojans with a three-pointer seconds into the game, and Morristown West took off from there. It was Chase Smith and Lovelace early with 14 of the teams 23 points in the first quarter. Before Cocke County could even get on the board, it was 12-0. Sawyer Smith capped off the high-scoring first quarter with a shot at the buzzer.
Morristown West didn’t slow down in the second quarter, scoring 26 points. Lovelace scored eight straight points early in the quarter and then hit another three before making way for the bench players. At one point in the quarter, the Trojans had a 47-9 lead.
“I am proud of the total team effort,” Smith said. “Everyone got minutes and played, and we showed what we can do well and what we need to do better on. It was an overall good performance from us.”
The starters returned to the game for the beginning of the second half and built the lead to 60-11 with 4:50 to go before exiting for the remainder of the game.
With the reserves in, Morristown West continued to dominate and cruised to their 57-point victory. The Trojans got the ball down low as they worked to make their offense more than just three-pointers from Lovelace and Smith.
“We shot 20 percent from three on Friday night, and tonight we shot a way higher percentage,” Smith said. “It is good that we are two dimensional and can play from the post and from the three-point line.”
Morristown West will be back in action on Friday as they travel to take on Sevier County at 7:30 p.m. Cocke County will be at home on Thursday to take on Gatlinburg-Pittman before taking on Seymour on Friday night.
“We still have to get better guarding the ball,” Smith said. “We need to communicate in transition as well. Just small things like that. If we can guard the ball better, we’re going to become a really good defensive team. That’s the goal heading forward.”