Head coach Brad Cox and his Green Wave basketball team are looking to wrap up the regular season with a slate of tough non-district road games.
After losing to district-mate Oxford on Monday, West Point made the short journey to Houston where they took on the Hilltoppers Tuesday night.
The game was an exciting match-up as both teams have had successful seasons to this point of the year. After falling behind 24-8 at the end of the first quarter, the Wave fought back throughout the whole second and third periods of the game to finally draw even with the Toppers 51-51. A chess-match fourth quarter saw West Point and Houston make multiple lead changes down the stretch. But it was missed free-throws that hurt the Wave giving the Toppers the win 70-69.
“It was another senior night, giving them [Houston] more energy than we had to start the game,” said Coach Cox about the Tuesday night loss to the Toppers, “they were more physical than we were at the beginning of the game as well.”
The first quarter was not the best for West Point as Houston dominated from start to finish. The Toppers began the game off with a 7-0 run which lasted for the opening two minutes of play. Though the Wave were able to answer, Houston closed the first on a 12-0 run, taking a 24-8 lead into the second period.
Luckily for West Point, Tre Williams began to heat up during the second as he opened the quarter with two consecutive three-pointers bringing the score to 26-14 in favor of the Toppers at the 6:15 mark. It was a continuous struggle for the Wave as Houston continued to pull away at the close of the first half. West Point though continued to press on defense and shot well on offense to only trail the Toppers 40-26 at halftime.
“It was just the effort and the energy, you have to ask ‘who is going to out-hustle who?’,” commented Cox about what was said during the halftime break, “we ended up pressing and speeding the game up which fell to our advantage.”
The third quarter allowed for the Wave to get back into the game even more. West Point’s Williams continued his highlight performance during the quarter scoring 11 of the Wave 25 points. By the midway point of the third, the Wave only trailed 45-38 and continued to close the gap. West Point’s Juan Davis hit a time expiring two-pointer which tied the game 51-51 heading into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was a tight affair which was decided on the free throw line. West Point and Houston held the lead at different times during the game and by the middle of fourth quarter Houston led the Wave 63-60. With just a minute left in the game, A.J. Jones gave West Point a 66-65 lead. Houston was able to regain the lead with 4 points in half a minute 69-66. Demarius Calvert brought the game within one 69-68 with 15 seconds left in the game. West Point fouled to send Houston to the line, where the Toppers made the front end, missing the second free throw making the game 70-68. The Wave took the ball down the floor when Houston fouled Jones sending him to the line. Jones made only one of the two free-throws forcing West Point to foul a Houston player. The Toppers missed both free-throws from the line giving the Wave one last opportunity with 4 seconds left. Williams last shot clanged off the iron, giving Houston the 70-69 victory.
In scoring for the night, West Point’s Williams led the way with 24 points. The Wave also had solid production from Jones and Juan Davis.
After the Houston game, the Wave traveled to Macon Friday night to take on rival Noxubee County. This meeting was the third between West Point and Noxubee this season. The Wave have won both of the previous meetings and were looking to repeat this time around.
West Point’s Juan Davis lit up the scoreboard in the opening quarter against Noxubee, scoring the first ten points for the Wave Friday. The Wave though could never pull away against the Tigers as Noxubee fought hard to protect home court on their senior night. Cox and his team lead 39-31 at halftime after an up-tempo first half. West Point was able to stay ahead during the second half and defeated the Tigers 70-64 for the third time this season.
Leading the Wave in the scoring column was Davis with 15 points. West Point had three others in double figures with senior Emmanuel Moore (14 points), Demarius Calvert (12 points), and Tre Williams (10 points) putting in big nights. Point guard A.J. Jones got 10 assists on the night while contributing 6 points for West Point.
“Noxubee is athletic, they run the best fast break of any team we face during the year,” said Coach Cox about the challenge of playing the Tigers, “they can spread you out very easily.”
The Wave closed out the regular season with a 14-10 overall record and a 3-3 record in district 2 5-A. West Point will travel to New Hope High School for the single-elimination district tournament which starts Tuesday. The Wave will tip-off the tournament at 8:30 against the host New Hope Trojans. Coach Cox wants all the West Point faithful, who can make the trip, to fill the away side with green and white.
“These final two games gave us a lot of confidence,” said Cox talking about the Houston and Noxubee games, “the Houston environment and playing an athletic Noxubee on the road has given us confidence to head into the district tournament at New Hope.”