Westlake box again, reoriented so it's easier to see. This is UNOFFICIAL. pic.twitter.com/6glmvYKNdk
— Arabdho Majumder (@aromajumder) November 23, 2017
Going into halftime, the Chaps held a slender, three-point lead on Tompkins. But head coach Robert Lucero’s talk during the break highlighting transition defense sparked a 24-9 third quarter that propelled Westlake (5-0) to a 82-62 win over the Falcons (6-2).
“The main thing [he talked about] was to get back on defense,” junior Will Baker said. “Our point guards were getting there, but we [big men] needed some help too. We fixed that, and we kind of slowed things down and got our offense going, getting it inside, so we did good.”
When asked about what changed in the third quarter, Tompkins head coach Bobby Sanders simply said his team did not play as hard as Westlake, and it cost them. The Chaps aggressiveness to the basket was also noted as he mentioned the 12 fouls they were able to draw in the third quarter alone.
Even with a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, the Chaps faced a scare as the game started to get more up-and-down. The quicker pace and trapping by the Falcons led to turnovers and three straight treys by Tompkins, but that would only bring down the lead to 16.
Lucero called timeout, and unlike last year against Wagner, was able to calm his guys down to close out the game.
“Once you get the lead, you have to start thinking about how you got there,” Lucero said. “Defensively, we grinded out some stops, and then offensively, in transition, we got some shots because of stops. Here, there’s no shot clock, so unfortunately, you just have to try and limit other team’s possessions, not by not trying to score, but just by trying to take some time off and making them chase the ball and getting it inside.”
This was the Chaps’ first test against a top-ten team, and they passed with flying colors. But while the occasion was bigger, Lucero said their preparation for the game was no different than their first four games.
“The big difference is that we travel to the game, we’re in Houston, we’re playing with Houston officials, we’re playing against some guys we’re not as familiar with, and they’re really talented players,” he said. “They’d just won the McDonald’s tournament which was the best tournament that weekend, so it’s just getting out of our comfort zone against Central Texas and playing a really talented team in a different environment.”
Texas-commit Brock Cunningham finished with a 18-point, 11-rebound double-double, and senior Matthew Mayer, a Baylor pledge, also contributed 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
But the star of the show was Will, who is yet to commit and finished with 23 points on 8-12 shooting and seven rebounds. His alley-oop dunk from senior Keonte Kennedy at the start of the second half also sparked Westlake’s third quarter explosion.
“The first four games, my teammates were always looking for me, and I got the team going, and it helps when they know they can trust me,” Will said.
The Chaps now have two days off before going up to Duncanville, Texas, to play against the No. 3 team in the state, Denton Guyer, in a neutral location. Lucero expects a tough game noting Guyer’s talent and depth.