Wyoming East warmed up to beat its county rival.
After a cold shooting first half which matched the outdoor temperatures, the AA No. 7 Warriors hit eight threes in the second half and beat No. 6 Westside, 56-44, at Clear Fork on Friday night.
The teams were in a 32-32 deadlock after Westside’s R.J. Hood sank a 15-footer early in the final quarter.
East answered with a 16-5 run fueled by the three ball.
Corey McKinney’s try put the Warriors in front to stay. Logan Mullins broke the press and drove through the lane for a bucket that made it 37-32.
At 39-35, senior guard Jon Sims hit three treys in a span of 46 seconds which pushed the lead to 48-37.
‘“He’s a streaky shooter,” said Warriors coach Derek Brooks. “When he gets it going, he gets it going.”
“I shot the first one and it felt good,” Sims said. “I kept shooting.”
Jacob Ellis hit a three to slice the margin to 48-40, but the Renegades (4-3) got no closer.
Logan Mullins and Sims each made two free throws and Dylan Brehm drove in for a score to give East its biggest lead of the night at 54-40.
Brooks said his team’s defense made the difference.
“I always say it doesn’t matter if you don’t make a shot,” he commented. “If we play defense, we’ll be all right.”
Defense was about all that happened in the first half.
The teams were scoreless for nearly six minutes before Sims connected from the foul line . East had 3-0 edge after the first quarter.
Corey Hatfield scored inside to put Westside on the board, and that started an 8-0 Renegades spurt capped by Broc Smith’s three-point play.
WHS held its biggest lead, 14-6, on Hatfield foul shots with less than a minute left.
Brehm made a layup and freshman McQuade Canada knocked down a three at the buzzer to trim the deficit to 14-11.
East went up for the first time in the third period on a Mullins three-point play with 5:35 showing.
Mullins scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half.
“We started running and getting the ball down the floor,” he remarked.
Westside used its press late in the quarter to slice the lead to 27-26.
East struggled with the press in its two losses.
“To beat the press, you have to make hard cuts and reverse the ball,” Brooks said. “We try to jog through it sometimes.”
“We didn’t make shots,” said WHS coach Shawn Jenkins. “When you’re not big and you’re not shooting well, it’s a problem.”
Jenkins wants a stronger effort from this club.
“If you’re just making the effort in two or three quarters, good teams will beat you,” he said.
“I’m the coach, and it’s my responsibilty to get them where they need to be,” the coach added.
Westside visits Liberty on Tuesday and hosts Logan on Wednesday.
Wyoming East (5-2) hosts Shady Spring on Tuesday.
Game notes: East now has a 21-20 edge in the basketball series
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.
Photo: Logan Mullins (10) of Wyoming East puts up a shot while Corey Hatfield of Westside defends in Friday’s game at Clear Fork.