Varsity basketball beat rival Lake Travis on the hardwood

Size proved to be the difference in the hardwood version of the “Battle of the Lakes,” with 6-11 junior Will Baker and 6-7 senior Brock Cunningham combining for 39 points and 17 rebounds in a 65-51 Westlake win.

When Lake Travis junior DJ Thorpe was forced to sit with foul-trouble in the first half, Will and Brock went to work. The latter finished with nine assists, most of them going to Will, who shot 11-14 from the field and hit all four of his free throws.

“Just trying to make plays for everyone else and hustling on defense and offense is how I get those rebounds and passes — just trying to make everyone else better,” Brock said. “With Will having a big night, it’s always helpful to have that big guy down low, and practicing that Hi-Lo that I’m going to be doing next year [as a Longhorn] is a great opportunity for me.”

The Cavaliers kept it close in the first half, even without their big man, and were down by just eight at the break. But Westlake pushed that lead up to 16 points with just under three minutes to go in the third quarter and never looked back.

Stingy defense by the Chaps made it difficult for the Cavaliers to find rhythm offensively, and DJ said after the game, Lake Travis needed to do a better job executing plays.

“We had a little bit of trouble with [executing our plays],” he said. “They had a really good defense, but I know I missed a ton of close shots. They should fall in, but we’ll get them next time.”

DJ struggled all game, and aside from his early foul-trouble, couldn’t get any buckets to fall, finishing with zero points and eight rebounds.

Westlake head coach Robert Lucero credited his assistant coach, Bo Wilkes, for teaching his team Lake Travis’ main sets and how to read them. The Chaps also ran a 2-3 zone, frustrating the Cavaliers and forcing them to pass the ball around the top of the arc.

“They have a ton of shooters, and they ran some flare screens, and we were probably helping a little bit too much on [junior] Garrett [Wilson in the first half] and giving up some three’s,” Lucero said. “In the second half, we did a better job of not giving up those three’s.”

Juniors Garrett and Ryan Bormann did their best to keep Lake Travis in the game, scoring multiple times off isolation plays in the second half. Garrett finished with 19 points and six rebounds, and Ryan scored 14 points.

But it wouldn’t be enough as the rest of their team scored just five points total in the second half. Westlake, on the other hand, also had senior Keonte Kennedy go for 14 points, including three makes from downtown, as well as senior Luke Pluymen contributing nine points.

All this came without Westlake star senior Matthew Mayer on the court. He’s been out with the flu since the start of the calendar year, but expects to be back in the next few days and should play in Westlake’s next District matchup against Lehman, Jan. 12.

Lake Travis plays the same opponent but three days earlier, Jan. 9, in their next District game. The whole team will hope to bounce back, and especially DJ.

“He’ll keep his head up,” Lake Travis head coach Clint Baty said. “He knows it’s a game — there are frustrating days and there are days you can’t miss. He just had a hard time, but it’s not every day that he’s going against 6-10 or 6-11.”