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Boys basketball bounces back, picks up first win over Millard West

December 9, 2022

The Westside varsity basketball team had mixed results on the opening weekend of the high school season.. The No. 3 Warriors lost their home opener to No. 7 Lincoln Southeast 69-57 on Thursday, Dec. 1.  Two days later Westside rebounded with a 46-40 win at Millard West. The Warriors held the Wildcats to just 12 points in the second half. Westside head coach Jim Simons was pleased with the team’s effort.

“I thought we competed harder as the game went along,” Simons said. “The first quarter, credit to Millard West, they played harder than us. Much better purpose than we did. Their zone gave us problems. We haven’t seen a lot of zone or practiced a lot of zone, so that’s on me. We need to be better prepared to attack their zone. Defensively, we were really poor in the quarter and a half. The tempo really changed, I think we were down 26-13, cut it to six at half. The tempo changed with how we guarded and I think that was a big key. We limited them to 12 points in the second half.”

The Warriors have improved on their shooting since playing Lincoln Southeast, when they shot 1-11 on three pointers. The Warriors shot 6-27 with 22 percent of threes made. Junior Maddox Anderson hit a three pointer to tie the game at the start of the fourth quarter, followed with a three pointer made by junior teammate CJ Mitchell. 

“The one before, we had kind of taken the lead early in the 4th quarter,” Simons said. “We had a couple empty possessions. They went up by three, and we came back. Maddox Anderson hit a huge three to tie the game. That was a really big shot and obviously, it’s tied. CJ steps up and makes a three. Those two threes were significant in giving us a lot of breathing room, and we just kept getting stops.  We haven’t shot the ball as well as we’re capable of. We were 1-11 on threes on Thursday night. I don’t know what we were tonight, but more than one. Not a lot more. Both those guys are good shooters who haven’t seen the ball go in as much as they’ve liked. To step up and knock those down was really big.”

Mitchell has been an important player for the Warriors, with nine points against Millard West and eight points against Lincoln Southeast. The Warriors are a shooting based team, and Mitchell adds to that very well.

“I knew we needed a bucket.” Mitchell said. “We kept moving the ball around, just trusting my teammates to give me the ball. I had a shot and I took it.”

The Warriors were able to defeat Millard West, after being down in the first quarter by 26-13. Mitchell was thrilled to rally and pick up a victory.

“It felt good to get in the win column.” Mitchell said. “Coach was talking about it, we gotta bounce back on the next play. And then we came out for the last three quarters and showed what we’re really about.”

As one of the top teams in Class A , the Warriors will continue to be challenged this season and they need to be ready every time they go on the court.

“I learned we gotta be resilient,” Mitchell said. “We gotta lock into details, and listen to coach, and I think we’ll be good. We’ll be a lot better as the season goes on.”

The Warriors will play at Burke on Friday, Dec. 9 for their third game of the season. Westside will return home on Saturday, Dec. 10, when they host Norfolk at 3:30 p.m.

 

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