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Warriors break away for 57-52 win over Lamar Consolidated

By jhornberg
Dec. 7, 2010 at 6:07 a.m.

Warriors' Drew Erskine, right, goes up for a shot as Lamar Consolidated's J.A. Owoladi defends him during  Tuesday night's game at West gym. Erskine led all scorers with 20 points.

Victoria West works on full-court press, mostly because Warriors coach Pat Erskine knows his young team is going to see it a lot.

"It's early in the season, and they have to learn how to handle the pressure," Erskine said.

So, they practice it. A lot.

"It's been pounded into our heads, it's a daily thing," said junior guard Drew Erskine. "We knew that was one of their big strategies to try to create turnovers."

Being able to handle that pressure, Pat Erskine said, was key for the young and still learning Warriors.

"That was one thing we really worked on the last week," the coach said. "We told them, if we can break the press, we'll be OK. If we can get it across half court and set up in our offense."

And Tuesday night, all that practice paid dividends.

The Warriors (4-5) abused Lamar Consolidated on offense, never allowing them to get into a groove offensively or defensively. They led from start to beat the Mustangs, 57-52, on Tuesday night.

Drew Erskine led all scorers with 20 points, and was the only West player in double digits as the Warriors held strong against several onslaughts from Lamar.

"You just got to keep shooting. Sometimes you're going to make them, sometimes you're not," he said. "Sometimes, you're going to miss them, but you have to keep thinking that every one is going to go in."

Still, Victoria West struggled late as the Mustangs closed the deficit to just two points with about a 1:30 left in the game.

Drew Erskine said the Warriors were trying to protect the lead, and got careless with the ball late.

"We kind of forced it at the end," he said. "Our objective was to hold it out and stall the clock out. But we ended up rushing it and taking some bad shots."

Only key free throws by Erskine, sophomore guard James Murphy and senior guard Raymon Flores helped keep the game safe.

Pat Erskine said it was the team's inexperience that showed late in game.

"Our kids weren't coming down and setting up," he said. "They have to realize how to finish games."

Despite the last few minutes of the game, the Warriors played strong defense in the first half and came up with key defensive stops when they needed to in the third and fourth quarters.

Pat Erskine said this was the first game the Warriors played zone defense for the whole game, a response to the Mustangs style of play.

"We've got work to do out of it," he said. "We came out in the second half a little flat and turned the ball over a couple of times."

Lamar Consolidated had one player - forward Frank Irielle - with 19 points, and one more with eight.

NOTE: The Warriors have gotten a boost from two places - the football team and transfers. The junior varsity team picked up Chaz Johnson and Kris Headley now that the football season is over. The two were the JV team's leading scorers in a losing effort Tuesday night, with Johnson scoring 21 points and Headley 17.

The varsity squad added senior Zach Mueller, who did not see action Tuesday night but will likely help the team in the low post.

The JV squad also picked up two transfers, Geoff Graff and Trey Cole, from Faith Academy. JV coach Matthew Hartman said the two players joined the squad three weeks ago after leaving the Cougars.

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