Boys varsity basketball beats Lake Travis, extends win streak to four

Sophomore Will Baker tries to get a shot past Anderson.

The second Battle of the Lakes garnered nowhere near the interest of the first round, but Westlake put together another dominating performance at home to win 65-41. The victory keeps Westlake undefeated at home and puts them two-and-a-half games ahead of both Leander and Lake Travis in District 25-6A.


“We want to represent our school and let them know that it’s our house,” junior Luke Pluymen said. “No one can come in here and take it from us.”


As expected, it was the matchup in the post that defined the game. Senior Alex Neahusan, junior Brock Cunningham and sophomore Will Baker rotated playing in the post against Lake Travis star sophomore DJ Thorpe who is No. 49 in the rankings.


“Last time I played him, I got a couple of early fouls,” Will said. “I tried to stay behind him more — three-quarters him in the post — so I wouldn’t get as many fouls as I did last time. That really helped me stay in the game mentally.”


The Chaps were effective in shutting DJ down, holding him to just 10 points. But his woes at the free-throw line, where he shot just 2 for 6, was the main factor in his inability to get the Cavaliers’ offense going.


DJ’s sophomore counterpart, Will Baker, was able to come in off the bench and make a big contribution with 13 points. However, he was penalized with a technical foul after he hung on the rim for too long after a dunk. That didn’t deter his aerial threat, and he finished the game with two alley-oop dunks and a put-back dunk.


The highlight of the night came early with junior Keonte Kennedy scoring 16 points off 4 of 5 shooting from three, all in the first quarter. It was an impressive showing, especially as he had been struggling with back spasms prior to the match.


“It’s a team game,” Keonte said. “If I’m on fire, give me the ball. If my teammates are on fire, I’ll give them the ball.”


With the Chaps off on Friday with a bye, Tuesday’s win gives them a much needed high before the break. Their next time playing is Feb. 7 against Lehman, a team they’ve already beaten this season.


“[As always], the next game is the most important game, so we just need to keep our focus there,” Lucero said. “We’ll prepare like we prepared for [this] game.”


As the season winds down, the team looks like a lock to grab a playoff spot. Their home record remains unblemished, they’ve out-rebounded most teams they’ve played and their junior quartet of Keonte, Brock, Luke and Matthew Mayer has only been getting better as the season progresses.


With all that said, they do still face tough tests ahead of them. They’ll play a plucky Leander team that beat them at Leander, and they also have to play Vista Ridge away. After that, it’s onto playoffs.


While Lucero has often referenced the one-game-at-a-time attitude the team holds, he agreed that now is the time when they need to start looking ahead to playoff games and how well they are prepared for them.


“We have to continue to take care of our business game-to-game and hopefully we don’t have any hang-ups,” Lucero said. “We control what happens, so we don’t have to worry about anybody else. We just have to worry about preparing and doing our best every game.”