With a young team, wins and losses may not be as important as building a foundation for the future and if the last two weeks are any indication, Coach Josh White and his West Union Dragons are making strides in the right direction to put together that winning foundation. The Dragons have won two of their last three contests, including a 54-47 come from behind win over the Ripley Blue Jays on Jan. 19 at West Union High School.
After the first quarter in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference battle with the Blue Jays, the Dragons used a Craig Horton three-pointer to forge an 8-6 lead, but the second quarter was a very different story. All the home team could manage was 7 points while the Jays poured in 18 points, getting a pair of three-pointers from Josh Deaton. At halftime, the Dragons found themselves staring at a 24-10 deficit.
The West Union comeback began in the third quarter, when they outscored the Jays 13-8, getting treys from Horton and D.J. Welch. Now down just 32-28, the Dragons exploded in the fourth quarter and poured in 26 points, going 14 for 19 from the free throw line over the eight minute span. Sophomore guard Garrett Vogler was a perfect 6 for 6 from the stripe in the final period as the Dragons caught the Jays, passed them, and then sprinted to the finish line for the seven-point triumph.
“I’m very proud of this team,” said Coach White. “We had our struggles at the end of the second quarter and the start of the third and found ourselves down 14. We could have folded or continued our lack of execution and ended up the way too many of our games have ended up this year. Instead, we turned up the defensive pressure, forced some turnovers, and clawed our way back into the game, remaining poised and confident throughout the fourth quarter.”
“It was an excellent mental and physical effort for us tonight.”
Craig Horton led the winning Dragons with 16 points and was joined in double figures by Garrett Vogler with 11. Elijah McCarty added 8 and D.J. Welch 6.
Ripley was paced by Josh Deaton’s 10 points, with Brian Dunn adding 8.
The Dragons were snowed out last Friday night when they were scheduled to host Peebles and were back in action on Tuesday, Jan.26 with a trip to Piketon for a non-conference game. On Friday night, West Union will be on the road again for an in-county SHAC battle at Manchester.
RHS 6 18 8 15 —47
WUHS 8 7 13 26 —54
RHS (47): Marshall 2 1-2 7, Dunn 4 0-0 8, Holmes 1 1-2 3, Moran 1 3-4 5, Hatfield 2 2-4 6, Slowey 3 0-0 6, Deaton 2 4-6 10, Griffith 1 0-0 2, Team 16 11-18 47.
WUHS (54): Welch 1 3-4 6, Fuller 2 0-0 4, Vogler 2 7-9 11, McCarty 3 1-2 8, Kramer 2 0-0 4, Horton 5 4-7 16, Clifford 1 0-2 2, Weeks 0 0-2 0, Fenton 0 3-4 3, Team 17 18-30 54.
RHS- Marshall 2, Deaton 2
WUHS- Welch 1, McCarty 1, Horton 2