WEST PORTSMOUTH – The home opener for the Portsmouth West Senators didn’t go as planned for West and their fans, and questions on how the Wheelersburg Pirates would respond coming off a loss to SOC II foe Valley just a few days ago, were answered.
The Pirates defeated their fellow SOC II foe 79-38, Tuesday evening at Portsmouth West High School.
“We started out with the right energy, and I was really proud of them for that,” Pirates coach Steven Ater said. “I thought our energy was phenomenal.”
Wheelersburg started the game strong, scoring the game’s first eight points.
West started having several problems during the game shortly after tipoff. The Senators ran into foul trouble, picking up three team fouls in less than two minutes of play.
Fouls would plague the Senators for the remainder of the game, as they racked up seven team fouls by the end of the first quarter, and had put Wheelersburg in the double bonus with 3:20 second remaining in the half.
Turnovers helped prevent the Senators from gaining any lasting momentum Tuesday night as well.
“We can’t quit turning the ball over,” Senators coach Scott Davis said. “Until we can learn to quit turning the ball over, we’re not going to win.”
Injuries didn’t help the Senators’ cause either, as three injuries took some of West’s biggest players out of the game.
Cody Finley suffered a dislocated thumb during the game, and did not return. A nagging football injury sidelined Patrick Bays who said he was playing on a stress fracture. Bays fell late in the game reaggrevating the injury, and was helped off the court. Additionally, Sam Kegley had some leg swelling issues, which limited his playing time.
“It wasn’t a very good night for us, for our home opener,” Davis said. “Wheelersburg is a very good team, and very athletic. I was really impressed by them. We just need to learn to not turn the ball over.”
The Pirates’ offense was too much for the Senators, who trailed 19-7 at the end of the first, and 45-13 at halftime.
West stepped up their defense in the third quarter, and was able to hold the Pirates scoreless in the first 3:25 of the quarter. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to take advantage on offense as much as they had hoped.
Wheelersburg continued to build their lead over West as the game went on. At the end of the third quarter, Wheelersburg’s lead had grown to 36 points, leading West 63-27.
The fourth quarter would resemble the first three quarters, with Wheelersburg growing its lead, until the final buzzer reflected a 41 point win for the Pirates, 79-38.
“It was disappointing, especially for our fans for us to not play well tonight,” Davis said.
Despite the big margin of victory, Ater said there were several things his team still needs to work on.
“Hitting free throws and finishing some layups showed up early in the first quarter,” Ater said. “However, when you play with great effort, you can make up for it. We’ll get better at that stuff, as we get more legs underneath of us coming off of football.”
Ater said he was very proud of his team’s effort on the court, and thought his team really stepped up, especially the bench.
“For us, it is a day-by-day process that we need to get better in,” Ater said. “Tonight was a good step in the right direction, and now we don’t want to stubb our toe coming into the next game.”
West will play Valley Friday night at Valley High School. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
“I told them all we can do is come back in here and work tomorrow,” Davis said. “We have two days to prepare for Valley, and to work on correcting our mistakes and getting better.”
Wheelersburg will travel to South Webster to take on the Jeeps Friday evening. That game will tip at 7:30 p.m.
West – Boggs 5-2-14, Kegley 2-2-6, Frasure 2-1-5, Patrick 2-0-4, Howard 1-1-4, Caudill 0-3-3
Wheelersburg – Coleman 6-4-15, Lotspeich 4-3-11, Holden 4-2-10, Davis 3-3-10, Garrett 4-0-9, Hall 3-0-6, Stamper 2-0-4, Newsome 2-2-4, Meadows 1-2-4, Marvin 1-1-3, Lewis 0-2-2, Dyer 0-1-1
3-point field goals – West 3 (Boggs 2, Howard) Wheelersburg 3 (Davis, Garrett, Coleman)
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931 or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.