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West prepares for another game against Trent International

Jan. 3, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.
Updated Jan. 2, 2012 at 7:03 p.m.

Victoria West's Drew Erskine (13) goes up for a shot against  Victoria East's Deondric Lofton during the 2011 Victoria Classic game at Victoria East High School. West hosts Trent International on Tuesday.

A few hours after the conclusion of an odd and plodding game Jacob Garza walked past a fellow classmate last week.

The classmate challenged the Victoria West forward to play man-to-man defense when the Warriors play Trent International Tuesday evening. Garza laughed at the suggestion and kept walking.

Garza and his classmate both knew the Warriors were not going to ditch their preferred defense simply because an opponent will not attack them.

Such stubbornness, as some might perceive, led to an odd scene in the Warriors previous meeting with Trent this season.

In a five-point game the Phoenix made no attempt to score for six minutes in the third quarter, nor did the Warriors make an attempt to strip the ball from their opponents during that period.

Trent tried a similar tactic earlier in the Victoria Classic against Sweeny; however, at that point they were comfortably ahead of the Bulldogs.

"I feel it says a lot about our kids," said West coach Pat Erskine after the Dec. 30 game. "They were holding the ball a little bit, looking for shots and didn't want to trade possessions. That's the whole thing, in a possession game they got up two possessions and they were going to just hold it. That's part of the game. You have to learn how to deal with decisions that coaches make."

Casually holding the ball made for an odd scene when the two teams met Dec. 30. Fans were displeased, players were chuckling and both coaches shrugged their shoulders. However, the stalling provided a subplot for Tuesday's game.

"They are a team, they like to be in the low numbers in the 30s and such," said Trent Internationale head coach Eugene Harris. "When we held that ball that's not our normal type of play, we were trying to pull them out the zone to go man, but it didn't work. To be perfectly honest, it almost backfired."

Harris has a point about the Warriors clock-bleeding offense. In 19 games, Victoria West (11-8) has topped 60 points just twice.

Erskine said the Dec. 30 game, as well as their Warriors defense throughout the season might open up Tuesday's contest. But, he also added that teams like Trent let his Warriors know just how good they are.

"Trent is a good team. They have done some damage to all these other teams in the tournament," the Victoria West coach said at the time. "It gives us some credibility to what we are doing and what our players are about. I think both teams played pretty good defense. I know they held the ball for six minutes, but that is their decision not ours."

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