Varsity basketball blows out Shoemaker

It was a statement win for the No. 7 ranked varsity basketball team over No. 16 Shoemaker Nov. 18, 78-49, showing off their defensive prowess against an offense featuring seniors Javon Levi – 57 in the Texas Top 100 rankings for his class – and Antoine James.

“Defense is something [head coach Robert Lucero] always harps on,” junior Brock Cunningham said. “They have a lot of scorers and we were able to shut them down mostly for under ten [points].”

The first quarter was a stingy, defensive battle with neither team shooting the ball well. Westlake would pick up the scoring early in the second quarter with a 9-0 run, forcing a timeout from Shoemaker. They wouldn’t be able to slow down the scoring however, and Westlake ended the first half up 31-21.

Fouls were a contentious point in the first half and also later in the game. But Shoemaker head coach Emund Prichett was making no excuses for his team’s performance.

“That had nothing to do with our team losing the game,” Prichett said. “Their team played better and they won.”

Prichett would receive a technical foul in the fourth quarter for arguing with the referees and ignoring their warning. After the game, Lucero talked about the importance of his players not losing focus after the incident.

“Any time the other coach gets a technical, I always worry that the refs are going to change the way they call the game,” Lucero said. “All we said [to the players] is that we have to make sure we don’t have any fouls and we show our hands on drives. If the refs miss any calls, we just have to move on to the next one.”

The second half was a scoring blitz from Westlake. It finally found its rhythm offensively, and with Shoemaker still struggling to shoot, the Chaps built a commanding lead. Levi, who scored a game-high 22 points, would foul out in the fourth quarter, extinguishing any hope of a Shoemaker comeback.

“They’re really good, so the fact that we can go out and beat them by almost 30 means that we’ve come a long way in just a week,” senior Alex Neahusan said. “We played really well and we executed against them.”

Similar to their past two games, rebounding was a key factor for Westlake to take the lead and hold the lead.

“In high school, rebounding is key in almost every game,” Lucero said. “It’s one of the things we try to focus on in every drill that we do.”

In addition to that, he mentioned their shot selection was helpful to grabbing so many boards.

“When we take predictable shots — ones that everyone on the team knows that person is supposed to take on drive-and-kicks or extra passes — it really helps you rebound,” Lucero said. “We didn’t shoot as fast as we have in the last two games, but that allowed us to get the defense into rotations and we passed up a good shot for a great shot.”

For Shoemaker, this was only their first game and they have a long season ahead of them. Coming into a hostile building against the No. 7 team in the state was not easy, and Prichett wants his team to fight back following the loss.

“Now the things that I’ve been telling them is happening and it’s reality,” Prichett said. “We’re down right now so it’s about how we dig out of a hole. We’ve done it before.”