It took some time for the West boys basketball team to adjust to the speed and precise ball handling of visiting De La Salle, Saturday, Jan. 4.
The Wolf Pack (9-5) picked up the tempo in the second quarter, but was unable to overcome the Spartans’ early lead, with De La Salle taking the 58-53 win
The Spartans (7-3) held a 25-10 lead early in the second quarter before West started hitting its shots. Senior guard Kenneth Daye scored 13 of his game-high 26 points in the second quarter and the Pack gradually closed in on the Spartans, cutting De La Salle’s lead to 50-47 midway through the fourth quarter.
It was as close as the Wolf Pack would get, but West put up an oppressive defense in the fourth to deny the Spartans any field goals in the final frame. The Spartans scored nine points on free throws in the fourth quarter, most of them in the final three minutes.
“There was a different intensity, like, we’ve got to get this game,” West senior forward Alvin Crenshaw said.
“We know when we’re all in the groove and all together with our rhythm, then we’re dangerous.”
West coach Derek Sprecksel expected that the Spartans would be among the Pack’s toughest pre-league opponents, so he was impressed with how the West team competed in the second half.
“I can’t say enough about the determination and fight of this group of kids. They just always believe we’re in every game,” he said.
Sprecksel said the key was spotting how the Spartans worked the perimeter until they could drive to the inside. He added that West forwards Crenshaw and junior Spencer Carroll matched De La Salle’s physical play on the boards.
“It’s very good for us to play teams like this going into league,” Sprecksel said. “It doesn’t feel like a loss.”
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.