Victoria West boys hoops drop season opener to CC John Paul II
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A few things were to be expected out of the Victoria West basketball team as it opened its season Tuesday night.
The Warriors were going to have a lot of new faces in their starting lineup, the scoring would be spread out throughout the team, and the team was going to take some time to jell.
All three played a part in Victoria West dropping its season opener to Corpus Christi John Paul II, 52-41.
"We expected to have a faster approach to getting up and down the floor," said Victoria West coach Pat Erskine. "We thought we had some quickness to get down the floor and our guys got flustered early. I would say if there was one word, this was expected.
"We expected to come out and look inexperienced. Am I ready to go and throw in the towel? No. We're ready to go back, look at the film and see. We had some really good things happen (Tuesday) night."
Point guard James Murphy was the only returning starter. He finished with nine points as well as a slew of assists to streaking teammates on the evening. Six other players scored for the Warriors, Chris Erskine scored eight points, while sophomore forward Mason Marshall added nine points and 11 rebounds off the bench.
The jelling may be the toughest part. Pat Erskine said it may take as long as the Dec. 18 district opener for West to decipher the correct lineups, figure out everyone's role and allow the youthful Warriors to adjust to varsity competition.
Marshall played on the freshman team last year. Ruben Trevino didn't score Tuesday night, but the freshman guard logged significant minutes. Alfonso Rosales was a pest defensively, blocking a pair of shots in the first quarter to keep the contest 9-9.
"They didn't pressure us that much until the end, once they realized they were able to," Erskine said. "I really feel our young ones were not patient enough to find the holes in the zone. When we did . we did get looks from our post and someone flashing. It's a matter of them experiencing it first half as opposed to us telling them."
Murphy's assist to a streaking Kris Headley with 6:10 left in the second quarter gave the Warriors a 13-11 lead. That was the last time they would lead all evening.
Seconds later, John Paul II guard Joe Moreno hit his only 3-pointer of the night to give the Centurions the lead again. The visitors wound up making seven 3-pointers and shot 71 percent (15 for 21) from the free throw line. West, meanwhile, had just one 3-pointer and was 6 for 17 from the free throw line.
John Paul II coach Sam Odoms said his team wanted to take the ball out of Murphy's hands so they trapped and pressed the Warriors more after the first quarter.
"We are a lot quicker than those guys," Odoms said. "That was the main thing, getting up and down the floor. We spread the floor and hit the open guy."
John Paul II scored more as the game went on, its' 12-point second quarter begat a 15-point third quarter and another 16 in the fourth. The Centurions (1-6) used an 8-2 run to start the second half to pull away from West.
Outside of a stretch late in the fourth quarter, the Warriors trailed by double digits after the second half's opening spurt.
Basketball is a game of spurts. The Warriors may learn that as the season continues. But, Tuesday was the first of many lessons the team will learn.