By Dan Stillwell
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Westside is a basketball team in transition.
The Renegades, who played mostly a half-court game the past two seasons to fit the style of big, twin centers Dustin and Justin Tilley, are now racing down the court, full-out.
“We want to get the ball up and down the court as fast as we possibly can,” coach Nick Cook said after Westside downed Oak Hill 71-53 Friday night in the season opener for both teams at the Jim Lilly Center.
Westside never trailed, using its size and speed to race ahead 12-4 by the midpoint mark of the first quarter.
“We are extremely athletic, from the point guard position to the center position,” Cook said. “We have a lot of depth, and we want to wear teams down. When we can do what we did the first quarter, we’re a pretty dangerous team.”
Oak Hill, no slouch itself in the running department, was being outhustled, outrebounded and outshot.
“Westside was athletic, but we can match their athleticism,” new Oak Hill coach Walter Raines said. “At the beginning of the game, we didn’t match their effort.”
Westside opened the second quarter with a 10-0 run, but got into foul trouble. Oak Hill went on a 9-0 run of its own before Justin Cogar hit a 3 just before the break to make it 33-25.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” Cook said. “When we had to slow the ball down, we were nowhere near as effective as when we were getting the ball out and running down the floor.”
The Red Devils blew a golden opportunity early in the third quarter, missing several foul shots.
“We had every opportunity to get back in the game, and then we’d do something like turn it over, or miss an easy layup or foul shot,” Raines said. “We couldn’t sustain anything.”
Westside pushed the lead back out to 14, 51-37, by the third quarter’s end, and Oak Hill could make little ground on them the rest of the way.
Justin Cogar, Westside’s do-it-all quarterback in football season, opened his basketball season with a 29-point, 12-rebound performance.
“Cogar’s a matchup nightmare for any team,” Cook said.
“You try to guard him with a guard, and we’re going to post him up. You try to guard him with a big, and he’ll go around you.”
Corey Bowles added 20 points in what Cook called “an off-game,” while Jordan Browning had seven rebounds and three steals.
Mark Logan led Oak Hill with 11 points. DeMarcus Hughes chipped in 10 points, and Joey Re had 9 points, five rebounds and two steals.
“We didn’t handle the ball well, and we didn’t finish,” Raines said. “Part of the problem is I was hired late in September and didn’t get to spend any time with the kids in the summer.
“Some of it is our guys aren’t sure of what we’re doing yet. But we will get better.”
Westside will return to action Tuesday at Independence. Oak Hill will play at Braxton County Tuesday.
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Westside 71, Oak Hill 53
Jordan Browning 2 0-0 4, Corey Bowles 7 5-6 20, Levi Lambert 2 1-5 5, Jason Scarlett 2 1-2 5, Justin Cogar 14 0-0 29, Justin Kenneda 1 1-2 3, Hunter Walker 0 0-0 0, Matt Harless 2 0-2 4. Totals: 30 8-21 71.
Oak Hill (0-1)
Kadrin Goodman 1 1-4 3, Deon Marion 3 2-6 8, Marc Logan 5 0-1 11, Joey Re 4 1-2 9, Ervin Fruit 1 5-6, 7, Josh Jones 1 3-5 5, DeMarcus Hughes 3 4-7 10, Michael Nibert 0 0-0 0, Chris Hysell 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 16-31 53.
W 16 17 18 20 — 71
OH 10 15 12 16 — 53
3-point goals — W: 2 (Bowles , Cogar); OH: 1 (Goodman). Fouled out — W: Kenneda; OH: Hughes.