Winston-Salem prep steals a victory

Winston-Salem prep steals a victory
February 09
03:50 2017

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



The junior varsity season is quickly coming to a close for the teams in Forsyth County.

For Winston-Salem Prep winning their final three games means another Northwest 1-A conference championship for the Phoenix.  Walkertown, with only four wins on the year, was looking to finish their season on a high note and gave the Phoenix everything they could handle.

Walkertown opened the game with a lot of energy and were able to penetrate the Phoenix defense with relative ease.  They maintained the lead throughout the first half but relinquished the lead in the second and were not able to come back, falling to the Phoenix in the closing seconds 54-50.

“Overall I’m happy with the win but not happy with the way we executed, so we have to continue to work every day to get better,” said Winston-Salem prep head coach Willie Patrick.

Walkertown let the game get away from them in the second half.  Even with the lapses in the second half the Wolfpack were only down by one with 16 seconds left in the game. One play could have changed the course of events for the game.

“In the second half we had a couple of our starters in foul trouble and they came out and made adjustments at halftime,” said Charles Thomas, Walkertown head coach. “We had to adjust off of what they did at halftime and so we weren’t able to get the same opportunities we had in the first half.”

Preps was once again led in points by Jalen Crawley and Essin Arid, their two sophomore wingmen.  Even though Arid did not shoot the ball particularly well, he did everything else to secure the win, including the things that don’t show up on the stat sheet.  Rebounding, playing solid man defense, getting steals and block shots were the things he contributed in the second half.

“I told myself to just keep shooting shots. Jalen Crawley was kind of hot, so we kept feeding him, but other than that you just have to keep shooting shots and never give up,” Arid said.  “When we went down, I thought we weren’t fighting hard enough so somebody had to step up and play that role because once you step up the whole team is going to pick up the intensity.”

Prep was able to open a nine-point lead with a little over two minutes left in the game.  Walkertown did not fade and kept fighting.  A late three-pointer brought them within one at 51-50 but Prep closed out the game from the charity stripe.

“This team is capable of playing with the best and beating the best but we can’t take any plays off,” Patrick continued.  “We have to play every day and this team seems to be scared to hit the gas pedal sometimes.  And for these last two games, we want to win and we play to win. It just depends on what team shows up.”

With Walkertown going winless last season, this year has been a total change in philosophy under Thomas.  He has his team and program going in the right direction coming within a few points of victory multiple times this year.

“This team has fought all season and we have developed a not-quit attitude so to see them come back like they did at the end of the game wasn’t a shock. I was expecting it,” Thomas continued.  “We didn’t expect to be down in that situation, so it caught them off guard, so we had to get refocused, and that’s when we made our final push.”

Walkertown only shot around 50 percent from the free throw line.  Thomas says if a few more of those went down from the line, the outcome would have been different.  He said even though they only have four wins on the season, they have been competitive in almost all of them.  He thinks the future is bright for the Walkertown program.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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