Fast start helps Cougars to win
MARTINSBURG – Westside players spent a good portion of Monday walking around Washington, D.C., trotting about 8miles to see the sites in the nation’s capital.
Then the Renegades spent the first quarter seeing Jefferson sighting in its shots during a 78-64 victory by the Cougars in the first game of the Skip Fowler Memorial Basketball Tournament at the Martinsburg Fieldhouse.
The Cougars made 10 of 13 shot tries from the field in the first period on the way to building a 27-12 lead over a leg-weary squad that came into the game at 3-0.
“I guess the first quarter is my fault,” Westside coach Nick Cook said. “They had a good time actually touring the monuments.
“They’ll remember that part far more than anything that happened out here.”
Jefferson (5-1), though, will remember how Westside switched from a man defense into assorted zones that baffled the Cougars all too frequently.
“They changed defense every time,” Jefferson coach Richard Lewis said. “It was different zones. We’re not at a point to recognize some things yet. We haven’t played teams that give you multiple looks, so we struggled.
“It was a case of getting used to it.”
Will Fox scored back-to-back baskets for Westside to start an 8-0 run that pulled the Renegades to within 35-26, but Jefferson, behind a pair of free throws from Jalen Smith, a putback by Jahlil Jenkins and a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Smith gave the Cougars a 42-29 halftime lead.
“I think our zone was holding them, but they adjusted,” Cook said.
Part of the problem was that different Jefferson players got hot at varying junctures, leading all five Cougar starters to finish in double figures.
Jenkins led Jefferson with 24 points, 19 after halftime, and Smith scored 23, 20 coming in the first half. Christian Johnson scored 11 points, and Andrew King and Mike Tennant scored 10 points apiece.
“You couldn’t isolate any one player,” Cook said.
Jefferson kept Westside to a double-figures deficit until Justin Cogar scored five points during a 7-2 spree in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter to pull Westside to within 63-56.
However, after Jenkins and Fox traded baskets, Jenkins’ three-point play started a 10-0 run for the Cougars to push their lead to 75-58 with 2:31 remaining.
“That’s a good Double-A team,” Lewis said. “For us to have a double-digit lead for 80 to 90 percent of the time, that’s a beginning for our program.”
Fox scored 21 points to pace Westside, which also received 16 points from Justin Kenneda.
“They’re a good team,” Cook said. “We dug ourselves too big of a hole. I’m proud of them. They kept fighting, kept fighting.”