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West looks on bright side of disappointing loss

Jan. 3, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 2, 2012 at 7:03 p.m.

West senior Clayton Cain releases a shot in the second half of a game against Trent International Prep School on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012 at Victoria West High School.JONATHAN HINDERLITER/ JHINDERLITER@VICAD.COM

Pat Erskine might be the type of coach who could probably find positivity in a black hole.

Despite his team never leading Tuesday's contest against Trent International Prep School, the Victoria West basketball coach was encouraged that his counterpart had to bring his starters back into the contest because the Warriors made things too interesting for comfort.

The Phoenix defeated the Warriors for the second time in a week in their 65-57 victory. Though Trent led by as many as 20 points early in the fourth quarter - albeit mostly with reserves - West slimmed that margin to 61-54 when Trey Cole hit a 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds remaining.

"Obviously, the kids get excited about something like that. It's one of those things he pulled his starters out and put them back in. That shows what we're capable of. We feel that if we can play their starters at the end of the game that we have arrived."

Positivity aside, Erskine said his team was a bit flat Tuesday. They didn't make the extra pass nor did they attack as much as he would have liked on either side of the ball. But, he added the Warriors tried a new offense, one that incorporated senior post Clayton Cain more.

Cain finished with a team high 18 points. Cole and Drew Erskine added 12 apiece, but it was not enough to counter the Phoenix's multiple scoring threats.

Trent center Aly Mohamad is a Rice commitment, its point guard Seth Rogers will probably play at Loyola New Orleans, and they have a couple off players bigger and more athletic than anything West will see in District 30-4A.

Despite that collegiate-level talent, the Phoenix (10-7) left the court Tuesday night with additional respect for their opponents.

"They learned that you can never judge a book by its cover. It's quite obvious that (West) is a very, very good team and it's a well-coached team," said Trent head coach Eugene Harris.

"Coach Erskine is a very good coach. He was over there working hard. I was telling my guys 'he's working very hard and if y'all don't start competing they are going to come back.' If there was another quarter, I wouldn't have wanted to stick around for that."

Mohamad scored just four points. But at 6-feet-10-inches his presence alone altered shots, and forced West to think twice before attacking the basket.

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