Westlake Vs Atascocita
Both teams entered the 6A State Semis tonight averaging 70+ points per game, and both teams came out firing like the high-powered teams they’ve been. But as the 1st quarter saw two teams struggle to really get going offensively, it became clear this game would be all about defense and runs. Westlake struck first with an early 3 by senior guard Eain Mowat. For the duration of the game, Mowat’s composure was key as the three-year varsity starter helped Westlake dictate tempo, shot selection, and offensive execution despite the physical, tenacious Atascocita defense. The first quarter ended 14-14. Westlake locked in defensively in the 2nd quarter, only allowing 6 points for the Eagles as opposed to 18 by the Chaps leading to a 32-20 Westlake halftime lead. KJ Adams asserted his dominance early and was steady throughout the game. It was clear Westlake’s head coach Rob Lucero was not interested in seeing Adams settle for any jumpers tonight. Adams posted, sealed, and attacked in transition to keep Westlake on top all night. His speed is deceptive for his size; he has soft touch around the rim; and his body control is impressive for a player with his frame. Atascocita tried to neutralize his size by drawing some early charges but to no avail. Junior forward Kaleb Pouncy, however, was undaunted by the eventual Jayhawk and fought with impressive tenacity against Adams. At 6’6”, Atascocita’s Pouncy blocked several shots by Adams and junior center Nehikhare Igiehon.
The second half was a game of runs and both teams enjoyed 6-0 and 7-0 runs. Atascocita’s senior guard Christian Ashby knocked down a pair of 3’s late to give the Eagles hope but once again defense prevailed. Westlake would close the game on a 12-0 run as Adams, Mowat, and the rest of the Chaps asserted their composure late, leading to a 57-42 win and giving Westlake a chance at the 6A state title on Saturday.
Aside from Mowat and Adams, junior forward Preston Clark and senior guard Blake Nielsen will be interesting to watch in Westlake’s final contest Saturday. Both players provide significant boost to all of Westlake’s schemes including shooting ability, length on defense, rebounding, and handling pressure. Clark hit timely 3’s against Atascocita, and finished well for the Chaps around the rim. Nielsen handled the rock just as well as anyone for the Chaps and really creates a problem for defenses with both Mowat and Nielsen on the court. Sophomore Jaden Greathouse will also prove to be a reliable ball handler for the Chaps in the future.