By Dave Morrison
CLEAR FORK-No coach has just one press in his bag of tricks. Westside’s coach is no difffent.
Down 33-17 early in the third, the Renegades went to their 2-2-1 press and stormed all the way back to win 53-50 Saturday in the Westside Classic.
The press was so effective the visiting Cougars scored just five points in the third quarter, including the first two of the half.
After that, they had trouble solving the Westside press. The 2-2-1 caused 11 third quarter turnovers.
Could this be the beginning of Press-Side, much like Press Virginia of a couple years ago at WVU.
“It was a difference maker,” coach Shawn Jenkins said. “We ran a different press in the first quarter and that didn’t work. It didn’t seem like anything we did in the first half worked. That’s why you have to have multiple presses so you can keep trying one after another until you find one that works. We went back to our white press, that’s what we call it and it seemed like it took off and caused them some trouble. That was really a difference maker.”
After a turnover with two seconds left in the first half, Lincoln hit 3 and then added a basket to go ahead by a seemingly insurmountable 16-point 33-17 lead.
That is when the 2-2-1 began paying dividends.
“We’re a pretty quick team,” Daniel Reed said. “We focused during the press, got a lot of steals and did a pretty good job with it.”
Jace Colucci and Ethan Blackburn had baskets before Evan Colucci had a pair of free throws.
Even with Westside missing five free throws in the third, a 40 foot 3 by Blackburn cut the Lincoln lead to 36-35 at the end of the third.
Six lead changes highlighted the fourth, before a steal and feed by Blackburn to Evan Colucci and a Blackburn tip gave Westside the lead, 48-45.
The Cougars fought back and took a 50-48 lead.
But the Cougars missed three straight free throws after Ryan Leep’s 3-point play had given Lincoln the lead.
Reed then made his big free throws and Evan Colucci closed it out with two free throws. The Renegades made 4 of 5 down the stretch.
He also had a couple of big 3s in the game.
“Yesterday I air balled my first 3 and I didn’t shoot none the rest of the game,” Evan Colucci said, “Tonight I was just hitting I guess so I shot the when I was open.”
Colucci led the Renegades with 14 points.
“(Coach) Shawn (Jenkins) always tells me to keep shooting the ball, if I’m open fire,” Evan Colucci said. “(Scoring) is really my role.”
The Renegades couldn’t have played much worse in the first half, and Jace Colucci admitted it wasn’t his best half, going 0 for 6 from the floor. He wasn’t alone as his team scored just 17 points.
“I couldn’t hit a shoot and nothing was going down,” Jace Colucci said, “I just came in at halftime and settled myself down and was like now I gotta do what I gotta do. I knew I had to put points on the board and help my team win.”
And he did, scoring 10 points, including several of his baskets during the key third quarter run.
Jenkins lamented the youth of his team last year but this year is seeing that experience is paying off.
And it paid off when Daniel Reed got fouled and went to the line.
He had drawn the team to within one with a free throw with 46.4 making it 50-49.
When he got a second opportunity with 25.9 left, he wasn’t going to miss.
“As soon as I got fouled, I was like, ‘Oh crap, the games in my hands. We’re down by one so I have to pull through and make these so we can win,’” said Reed, who finished with 11 points.
That is the experience Jenkins talked about.
“Again, I’m seeing where last year’s experience is paying off on the first couple of games,” Jenkins said. “They are growing up and they are ready for that moment.”
Jeremiah Carpenter had 12 points to lead Lincoln and Ryan Leep had 10.
Westside (2-0) will face Liberty on Friday night.
Lincoln (1-1) faces Buckhannon on Wednesday. They will be back in Wyoming County when they face Wyoming East on Feb. 22.
Westside 53, Lincoln County 50
Sammy Bart 1 0-0 2, John Lopez 0 0-1 0, Zack Snyder 3 1-2 8, Westin Heldreth 12 0-0 3, Jeremiah Carpenter 5 0-0 12, Brayden White 0 0-0 0, Ryan Leep 4 2-4 10, Kodi Shingleton 1 1-2 3, Dalton Darway 1 1-2 3, Payton Hawkins 4 1-1 9. Totals: 20 6-12 50.
Jace Colucci 4 2-4 10, Daniel Reed 3 5-7 11, Ethan Blackburn 3 0-0 7, Evan Colucci 4 4-4 14, Tommy Milam 3 3-6 9, Shandell Adkins 0 0-0 0, Wesley Browning 1 0-0 2, Austin Cline 0 0-0 0, Logan Shumate 0 0-0 0, Mikey Newsom 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 14-21 53.
Lincoln 16 15 5 14 – 50
Westside 8 9 18 18 – 53
Three-point field goals – L: 4 (Snyder, Heldreth, Carpenter 2), W: 3 (Blackburn,