By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
If you walked into the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center on Tuesday night, you’d think you were walking into Clear Fork.
Westside’s pride and pagentry of its “Renegade Rowdies” student section was in full force, screaming and leading cheers that even had Beckley fans questioning if they could borrow them for their next home game.
Instead, it was the opening round of the Region 3, Section 1 tournament that saw Westside and Independence battle it out.
The good news for Westisde? They lived to play another day. The good news for Indy? Well, now it’s baseball season.
The 5-16 Patriots proved to be no match for No. 4 Westside on Tuesday night. The Renegades dominated the Patriots for four quarters, winning 91-47.
“Mainly, it was our defense,” Westside coach Nick Cook said. “We forced turnovers. We made them play 94 feet instead of halfcourt. We don’t have a lot of size, but we have a lot of guards we can run at you.”
Independence hung with Westside in the opening moments of the game, before allowing the Renegades to go on a 24-point run and take a 32-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“Westside’s just a whole lot better than us,” Independence coach Chad Perkins said. “We tried things, but they manhandled us. It was 9-8 and then 32-8. I can’t complain.”
The Patriots weren’t expected to make it this far, pulling an upset on rival Liberty Friday night in the sectional play-in game. The 5-16 record may be a little lopsided, but Perkins said it didn’t show the drive and determination of the young Patriots team.
“They gave me everything they had,” he said. “It seemed like we never could get to our end of the floor. We went 3-for-17 in the first half from the line. If we could have made those, maybe that keeps it under 20. I don’t know, but it wasn’t meant to be. My guys played their hearts out and gave me everything they had.”
Westside went deep in its bench, hoping to gain some valuable experience for the younger players, while giving their starters a break before the sectional championship on Thursday night.
“That’s one thing, we have an extra deep bench,” Cook said. “A lot of those kids at any point in the game can come in and help us. It helped us this season.”
One such boost came from the 6-foot-1 junior Jordan Browning who gave the Renegades 11 points off the bench.
“I’ve been waiting on Jordan to do that,” Cook said. “One, he speeds up and plays faster. He can do it. He’s been hesitant the last few weeks, but tonight he made some passes, put the ball in the basket. I know Jordan. He’s capable of doing that. Hopefully that’s a sign of what he can do Thursday.”
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One of the region’s hottest rivalries will take center stage in the Region 3, Section 1 championship game on Thursday night when the No. 4 Renegades will once again meet up with the No. 5 Wyoming East Warriors.
It will be the fourth meeting this season for the two Wyoming County schools. Wyoming East got the first victory of the season by knocking off Westside in Clear Fork 67-57 earlier this season. However, the tides have turned in favor of Westside, ending a 5-year losing skid to the Warriors by dropping Westside in the Big Atlantic Classic 82-64. They also beat East in New Richmond earlier this month 77-75, on a pair of Justin Cogar free throws.
“It’s one of those things where we know what they’re going to do,” Cook said. “Let’s play the game. Practice on Wednesday is going to be a waste. These kids don’t need myself or Rory (Chapman) telling them what to do. They know each other. It all comes down to execution.”
One thing is for certain, the two Wyoming County schools will be primed and ready to go when the opening whistle sounds.
“We’d toss it up and do it tonight if they’d let us,” Cook said with a laugh.
— E-mail: jrollins@
register-herald.com and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.
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Drew D’Angelo 2 1-5 5, Zack Tucker 0 0-0 0, Tyler McKinney 4 2-3 10, Bill Sargent 1 0-0 2, Brandon Treadway 1 0-4 2, John Powell 0 0-0 0, Austin Reed 5 1-1 13, Aaron Tolliver 2 0-0 4, Shane Greco 4 2-3 10, Cody Collins 0 0-2 0, Nathaniel Jordan 0 1-2 1. TOTALS: 19 7-20 47
Larry Cook 0 0-0 0, Will Fox 5 0-0 10, Jordan Browning 5 0-0 11, Corey Bowles 5 2-2 13, Hunter Walker 1 2-2 4, Shawn Jenkins 1 0-0 2, Bryce Robinson 2 0-0 4, Justin Kenneda 3 1-2 8, Levi Lambert 3 1-2 8, Jason Scarlett 4 0-0 8, Justin Cogar 7 1-1 15, Matt Harless 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 40 7-9 91
I 8 9 14 16 — 47
W 32 13 28 18 — 91
3-Point Goals — I: 2 (Reed). W: 4 (Browning, Bowles, Kenneda, Lambert.) Fouled Out — None.