RUTLEDGE—Morristown West won for the first time this season by posting a pair of victories Friday afternoon in the Pizza Plus Thanksgiving Classic at Grainger County High.
The Trojans, now 2-1, opened the day with an easy 80-29 rout of outmanned Washburn and then came back for a 70-54 win over The Kings Academy.
West showed good scoring balance in both games as they placed four players in double figures in the first game and three in the second.
Bereket Evans tossed in 15 to lead the way against Washburn. Brady Cornett added 13, Luke Yandell had 12 and Tory House 11 as the Trojans shot a hot 59.3 percent from the floor including 8 of 18 three-point attempts.
Coach Joe Dobbins substituted five players at a time most of the day and both groups were successful.
Dobbins commented, “We got two good wins. The players all did their parts and played their roles.
“I thought the kids all pulled for each other today,” he added. “I think we took a big step forward in coming together as a team. Everybody had a part in it and everybody knocked down some shots.”
All 10 players scored for West in the first game and nine in the second.
“Having four in double figures in one game and three the next is another sign of coming together,” Dobbins said. “I liked that because it means the kids really don’t care who makes the points. That’s what we want to get to, playing as a team and whoever scores scores and everybody plays their role.”
Holding a lead going into the final quarter of the second game, the Trojans were sent to the free throw line often and canned 9 of 10 charity tosses to keep a safe margin.
“If we can continue that kind of shooting, that’ll be a big key for us,” Dobbins commented.
The coach was also happy with the way his team responded when King’s Academy came out and scored the first seven points of the game. “They came out and kind of kicked us in the mouth and I was proud of our guys for digging down a little bit and not letting it get away from them.”
Dobbins said of the first game, “We put pressure on the ball. We had two groups going to say fresh and it worked out really well for us. We made some shots and did a good job on the offensive boards. I thought we shot well from outside at times and got some putbacks.”
The Pirates held early leads of 2-0 and 4-2. That’s when the Trojans ran off 14 straight points and never looked back. Washburn got a free throw from Ty Hurst but Yandell hit two for West for an 18-5 lead after one quarter.
Landon Howard sandwiched a pair of baskets around a bucket by Rylin King to start the second stanza and it was 24-5. The Pirates scored three straight before Macleod Love and House hit back-to-back baskets to shove the lead to 20 at 28-8.
Rance Shipe nailed a three for the Pirates but the Trojans knocked down three triples in a 15-0 run that made it 43-11 with 1:58 left in the half.
Washburn had its best scoring run of the game by scoring seven straight but Evans hit a basket at the buzzer and the Trojans led 45-18 at halftime.
West continued to pull away in the third period with a 19-8 scoring margin. Cornett had seven, Evans five and House four in the quarter while Shipe scored six for the Pirates who didn’t get closer than 25 in the second half.
It was 64-26 after three periods and the Trojans scored the first 13 in the final quarter. The biggest lead was the final margin.
Washburn shot 41.3 from the floor but didn’t get but 29 shots. West had a commanding 30-15 rebound advantage as Love and House grabbed five each.
In the second game, King’s Academy got two baskets from Tyler Overdorf and a traditional three-point play from Damian Stmun to grab the quick 7-0 lead.
However, the Trojans came back quickly. Howard hit a free throw and then a basket and Bricyn Gudger nailed a three to get it down to 7-6.
Ben Holley of the Lions and Howard traded baskets before the losers went in front 12-8. However, Cornett hit a three and Love hit a short jumper to put West ahead for the first time. Simun’s free throw tied the game at 13-13 at the first rest stop.
Howard made the first two baskets of the second canto and Ty Steisslinger had a steal and layup before the Lions used a 10-2 run to grab a 23-21 lead.
But Evans and King scored four each as West ran off 10 in a row to take the lead for good. The Trojans led 33-25 at intermission.
TKA’s Harrison Rollins scored first in the third quarter but Cornett fired through a three for West. Rollins scored again and Gudger nailed a triple to make it 39-29. Steisslinger gunned through the Trojans’ third three in just over two minutes and West went on to lead 48-40 after three quarters.
Evans scored seven, Cornett had five and Howard four in the final frame with Evans making 5 of 6 charity tosses and Howard 4 of 4.
The Lions got within striking distance at 61-54 with 2:30 to play before the Trojans scored the final nine points.
Howard led the Trojans with 19 points while Cornett scored 15 and Evans 13. Overdorf had 15, Rollins 14 and Simun 12 for TKA.
West shot well again, making 26 of 47 for 55.3 percent. The Trojans hit 6 of 15 from behind the arc. The Lions were 20 of 44 for 45.4 percent and made just 1 of 12 three-point attempts.
The Trojans had a 32-29 backboard advantage as Evans, Steisslinger, Love and King all had five. Simun had six for the Lions.