West upends Parkland

West upends Parkland
January 29
00:00 2015
(Photos by Charles E. Leftwich Jr.,  Above: De’Sean Harrell leads the Titans fast break.)

It took about half of the first quarter for West Forsyth’s junior varsity to get into the flow. But once that happened, it was smooth sailing in a 55-49 home-court win over Parkland on Jan. 23.


Ben Uloko’s shot is contested by Parkland’s Zach Holmes.

Mason Matrey led the scoring with 12 points, and he had plenty of help from the Titans’ front line. Not only did Kamonyi Becton and Ben Uloko contribute 10 points apiece, but they controlled the paint on defense and were dominant on the boards.

“Our bigs picked it up in the second half,” said Coach Jeffrey Williams of West Forsyth (9-7, 4-3 Central Piedmont Conference as of Jan. 26). “Parkland’s zone put a lot of pressure on our guards, so we had to make some adjustments. We found a lot of success when we made the conscious effort to get the ball inside to the low post.”

In the opening minutes of the game, the Titans trailed 9-3, and appeared to be out of sync, but they eventually regrouped. Dwight Palmer hit a 3-pointer from the left wing, which sparked a 14-3 run. By the end of the quarter, West Forsyth led 17-12.

Parkland, in the meantime, was unable to overcome its own mistakes. The combination of missed shots at point-blank range, botched defensive assignments and unforced turnovers hindered the Mustangs in their efforts to regain the lead.

Kobe Young took charge for Parkland and finished with a game-high 20 points. Even so, Young’s scoring wasn’t enough to offset West Forsyth’s offensive balance. Coach Shawn Smoot of Parkland wasn’t pleased with his team.

Parkland's Kenny Lee looks to pass as Dwight Palmer of West Forsyth defends.

Parkland’s Kenny Lee looks to pass as Dwight Palmer of West Forsyth defends.

“Based on what I saw, we must go back to the basics,” said Smoot, whose team is 7-5, 2-5 in the CPC. “Turnovers killed us. For whatever reasons, we couldn’t make a shot and couldn’t make a pass. Physically, it seemed like they just weren’t ready to play – and it showed. That’s surprising because they know how to play this game.”

Even though West Forsyth never trailed after the first quarter, Parkland had two opportunities to rally, but failed to do so because of costly turnovers that resulted in points for the Titans.

The Mustangs were down 36-27 late in the third quarter. Young buried a 3-pointer and Nana Cole hit a free throw to cut the deficit to 36-31. West Forsyth responded by scoring on back-to-back possessions to extend its cushion to 40-31 by the end of the quarter.

west 4

Mason Matrey was the top scorer for West Forsyth.

During the early minutes of the fourth quarter, Young sank a jumper and Cole converted a 3-point play to bring the Mustangs to within four points of the lead (40-36) with 6:57 to go. Titans point guard De’Sean Harrell scored on a baseline drive and Becton added another basket to help West Forsyth maintain its comfortable margin.

Even though West Forsyth won handily, Williams knows that his team will have to shoot better from the free throw line. Over the past week, he was satisfied with his team’s performance in that phase of the game. That wasn’t the case vs. Parkland. The Titans went 9-of-26 from the line.

“We finished the game very well and we did what we needed to do on the glass,” said Williams. “But we also had a setback with our free-throwing shooting. If we shoot from the line like I know we can, we win this game by 15 to 20 points.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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