Westmoore isn’t a one-man team. Unlike other squads around the state, their success doesn’t depend on one or two players.
While the Jaguars may not have the most talent, what they do have is a complete team. Coach Scott Hodges believes that will be the key to their season.
“We will play extremely hard and play together,” Hodges said. “That is one thing we preach every day. Our guys really enjoy playing together and are close off the floor.”
This key ingredient has been evident in Westmoore hot start to the season. Coming off a second-place finish in the Durant Lion Classic, the Jags are now 3-1 on the season heading into this week.
Their only loss was 62-46 to Norman High. That has been the only game Westmoore has not topped 50 points.
“Our strength this year is our ability to score the basketball,” Hodges said. “We have five or six guys that could score double digits every night. Our offense should be fine, but we are really focusing on defending and rebounding. If we can become a great defensive team, we have a chance to have a really good season.”
Leading the charge for Westmoore are solid group of seniors. They include Beau Palmer and Kyle Lakin. Palmer averaged 11 points and seven rebounds as a junior while Lakin has started all four years and is turning into a leader on the court.
“I expect to run the team, and score with good shots,” Lakin said. “I am going to be a good leader and floor general.”
The Jaguars like the depth they have at all positions.
“Trey Ayala can really score the ball and he is one of our best perimeter defenders,” Hodges said. “Tripp Fuller is extremely skilled around the rim and has really improved after playing a lot as a freshman. Austin Bowling, Tim Acquaye, and Alonzo Brown are all guys that will really play a huge role for us. Dillion Thompson is another guy that can really score the ball and is really good in transition.”
But the Jaguars know they will only go as far as their defense takes them.
“In the past we’ve focused more on offense,” Bowling said. “But this year we are really pushing defense. Taking pride in it this year. I think that’s a big part of being a successful basketball team.”
Westmoore won only eight games last season. Despite that, the coaching staff saw the type of improvement through the year that lets them know they are on the right path.
“Last season was really an improvement on where we had been as a program the previous few years,” Hodges said. “I feel like we gained a lot of experience and played some really tough games that have prepared us for this year. Obviously we didn’t win as many games as we would have liked, but we don’t focus on last season. This is a new season and we are really excited about our potential. Our guys really got a lot of experience last year and that is huge. Being in the battles and learning how to win is a big step in becoming a good program. I think this year you will see how much more confident and experienced we are because of last season.”
Westmoore took on North Tuesday and will face Del City Friday in its final game before the holiday break. The more wins and experience it can pile up before the new year, the better in the long run for them.
“We play in the toughest conference in the state, so we have to really play hard every night,” Hodges said. “Every game is tough, but we need to win a lot of conference games to put ourselves in a good position come playoff time. We have really high expectations for our team. Our goal is always to play to the best of our ability and compete. We feel if we do that we can compete with anyone on our schedule this season.”
Michael Kinney 366-3537 email@example.com