The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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January 5, 2014

Warriors stun Renegades

Canada’s career-high 38 lead Wyoming East over Westside

CLEAR FORK — On an arctic cold night in the middle of winter, Canada invaded Clear Fork.

Only this invasion didn’t arrive from our hockey-loving neighbors to the north, but from New Richmond.

Wyoming East guard Austin Canada had a career-high 38 points as the Warriors (4-0) stunned county rival Westside (4-1) 79-71.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Warriors against the Renegades dating back to last season.

Ironically enough, the last time East defeated Westside was in Clear Fork just about a year ago.

“It means a lot to get this win,” Canada said after the  game. “They beat us three out of four games last year and we were motivated by that. We’ve been working a lot in the offseason.”

It wouldn’t be a Wyoming East-Westside game without close calls and drama. Saturday night was no different.

Despite leading for the majority of the game, the Warriors struggled to hammer the final nail in the Renegades’ coffin, and it almost came back to bite them in the end.

With less than five minutes remaining in the  contest, Westside’s Justin Kenneda received the ball near the top of the key. He found a wide-open Will Fox in the corner, who buried a 3-pointer to tie the game at 59.

Just a moment later, Westside’s Levi Lambert buried another 3, followed by a Corey Bowles layup and a Warriors turnover, which Bowles converted to jump out on top 66-61.

However, East wouldn’t go away, getting buckets from John Morgan and Jordan Hayes to draw within two.

That’s when Canada took over, draining a 3-pointer of his own to take a 68-67 lead. He then drew a foul on Westside’s Justin Cogar and converted both shots to put the game away and the ghosts of last season to bed.

It was a performance his coach wasn’t surprised by.

“I woke up this morning and had a text that just said, ‘Let’s  go,’” Wyoming East coach Rory Chapman said. “I knew he was psyched. I can’t recall a bad shot he took. We put him in some good spots and did a  good job getting the ball back to him.”

Canada had to deal with a host of Renegades, being defended first by Bowles and then later by Kenneda.

“We put a lot of different people on him,” Westside coach Nick Cook said. “With the way his shot was falling, I’m not sure anyone could have stopped him.”

Canada knew his shot was falling and had plenty of motivation to continue.

“I was just letting shots go,” he said. “My teammates and coaches told me to keep shooting, so I did.”

The win serves as a reminder that there are two teams in Wyoming County with championship aspirations. If the Warriors have been flying under the radar, they aren’t any longer.

Chapman and his staff feel the team  will only improve when a healthy Cody Lester rejoins the team and  2013  Register-Herald Player of the Year Taron Ayers, who transferred to East from Summers County late in December, becomes eligible.

“You’ll hear mentions of, ‘Don’t forget about Wyoming East,’ but we work as hard as anybody else,” Chapman said. “You give yourself a chance to win games. These kids work as hard as anyone and hard work pays off.”

His rival counterpart agrees.

“I don’t think Wyoming East is ever underrated or overrated,” Cook said. “They’re just Wyoming East and they proved tonight that they’re as good as anybody.”

The Renegades will look to rebound Tuesday at Liberty, while Wyoming East will travel to Summers County on Wednesday.

— E-mail: and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.


Wyoming East (4-0)

Jacob Dulcie 0 0-0 0, Austin Canada 12 9-11 38, RJ Folden 0  0-0 0, John Morgan 3 1-2 7, Logan Blankenship 1 4-4 6, Christian  Hedinger 2 2-2  7, Jordan Hayes 7 5-7 19, David Carte 1 0-0 2, Alec Lusk 0 0-0 0.  Totals: 26  21-26 79

Westside (4-1)

Will Fox 5 1-2 13, Jordan Browning 1 3-3 5,  Corey Bowles 11  2-4 24, Justin Kenneda 4 2-2 12, Justin Cogar 3 1-1 7, Levi  Lambert 4 2-2 12.  Totals: 27 11-16 71.

WE    23    9    24    23    —    79

W    15    19    19    18    —    71

3-point goals: WE: 6 (Canada 5, Hedinger), W: 6 (Fox 2, Kenneda 2, Lambert 2.) Fouled out — none.

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