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West Point players want big crowd for Friday night

January 18, 2011

By Bryan Davis
Sports Editor
Prior to last night’s games against Starkville, the last time the West Point basketball players took the court in front of the home crowd was December 18. Almost a month later, the Green Wave program is not only looking to reacquainting itself with the home floor, but the two teams are looking to play some important district games.
The boys and the girls have a 1-0 record in district play, defeating Saltillo on December 17.
This Friday night, West Point will play host to the Oxford Chargers, and the Green Wave players don’t want to see an empty seat in the house.
“We’re winning now,” Ewings said. “They (fans) might say they would only go watch a team that’s winning. Well we’re winning. We’ve got a 12 game winning streak, so come out and support us.”
Ewings and the Lady Green Wave team are currently sitting at 13-2 on the season. In the last two weekends, they have taken home first-place trophies from the Vardaman and Aberdeen Tourneys.
Ewings, a senior, says that Friday night will be crucial.
“We’re fighting for No. 1,” Ewings said. “Obviously we’ve got to beat Oxford. We’ve got to be prepared mentally and physically for this one.”
The Lady Wave, who started the season 1-2, hit the court kind of sluggish. As the weeks pressed on, however, the team came together and now has a legitimate shot at making a play for the “Big House” next month.
“It’s been a lot of work, the way coach (Jemmye Ann Helms) has prepared us,” Ewings said. “Every practice, no matter how good or bad we do, she’s pushing us every second we’re in the gym.”
While Ewings says she prefers the challenge of away games, she knows how important these home field dates are. She also knows that part of home field advantage is a large and loud crowd.
“If you like to watch somebody win, we’re putting on good games every night, and we’re winning,” Ewings said. “We’re competing. If that’s what people want to see, they should come out.”
West Point junior Nekeisha Walker echoes her teammate’s challenge.
“We play off that energy,” Walker said of the crowd. “It keeps us riled up.”
The Green Wave boys team will be playing the second game on Friday. They come in with an 8-7 overall record, taking home first-place at the Vardaman Tourney themselves.
They are looking to keep their district record untarnished as well.
“If we win against Oxford, it puts us in first place,” said West Point junior Laquante Gaston. “Right now, they’re 2-0, but if we beat them, we’re in first.”
Gaston said that beating the Chargers on Friday would not only be big for the season, but big for the program.
“West Point has never won a district tournament,” Gaston said. “If we win this year, that puts us on the map.”
Gaston’s teammate, and West Point top scorer, Laquintis Robertson agrees.
“They should really take us seriously,” said Robertson of the fans. “We are serious this year. Oxford has a pretty good team, but we should beat them.”
The girls game will start at 6 p.m. on Friday night. The boys will play immediately following that contest.

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