Sometimes a team has to put the memory of a brutal beat-down behind it in a hurry. That was the case for the West Holmes Knights boys basketball team on Saturday, Dec. 15.
One night after getting destroyed by Mansfield Madison 75-41 in a hugely disappointing game, Jordan Widder’s crew responded with a 49-43 road victory over Cloverleaf that helped ease the pain of that encounter with the Rams.
What was nice for the Knights was that not only did they get a win, but also they had to come from behind in the final period to do so to get back on the winning track.
Led by sophomore Peyton McKinney, West Holmes actually grabbed a 9-6 lead in the first period and extended the lead to 22-17 as their defense became a dominating factor in the victory.
However, they hit a bump in the road in the third quarter when the Colts rallied to take a 33-32 advantage with eight minutes to play. West Holmes went back to its defensive-minded approach and played a strong fourth quarter, pushing ahead early in the period and never looking back.
McKinney led the Knights with 13 points while Josh Shrock added 10, both of them tossing in a pair of 3-pointers that helped West Holmes advance its record to 2-4 on the season.
In the loss to Madison, the previously winless Rams unleashed a brutal full-court press and forced the Knights into a ton of turnovers that led to some easy scores on lay-ups. In addition Madison abused West Holmes from beyond the arc, where Tyler Tackett, Steven Williams and Jay Jones tore the Knights apart. Williams alone connected on four of his five 3-point attempts as West Holmes struggled to get out and defend the perimeter.
The lone bright spot for West Holmes was senior Shane Jones, who came off the bench for the first time this season and scored a team-high 22 points, accounting for more than half of the Knights overall scoring.
Early on the game had the makings of a close contest with Tackett scoring five for the Rams and Shane Jones netting four as Madison held a 7-6 edge. However, Jay Jones and Williams both struck from downtown to give the Rams a 17-8 lead through one period.
Even more telling was West Holmes’ seven turnovers, an eerie omen of things to come as the game spiraled out of control for the Knights.
Jacob Goudy and Shane Jones scored inside for the Knights to trim the second-period deficit to 21-12, but Madison proceeded to hit two more triples during a Rams 11-point run, and suddenly it was 32-12 Madison. Shane Jones scored twice in the final minute, the final two on a put-back at the buzzer that could have given West Holmes some momentum.
However, the Knights came out in a giving mood in the third quarter, coughing the ball up five times in six possessions, allowing the Rams a 45-18 edge that eliminated any chance of a comeback for the Knights.
Aside from Shane Jones’ 22-point effort, Shrock and Zach Stair each added five points to the West Holmes cause. However, the biggest telling tale was the Knights’ 25 turnovers on the evening that gave Madison plenty of time to rack up a huge lead and never look back.