It was an eighth grade boys county battle that turned out to be rather one-sided last Thursday night as the once-beaten West Union Dragons traveled to Manchester to face off with the struggling and still winless Manchester Greyhounds. Jumping out to an early lead and riding the hot hand of Trevor Neal’s 21 points, the Dragons easily notched up their sixth win of the year, rolling by the Hounds 59-20.
“We have been working on a more aggressive defense and the kids came out and pressured the ball early to create some turnovers,” said West Union head coach Scott McFarland. “I was proud of our team effort tonight.”
“Coach Brewer always does a good job of preparing his team and we knew we had to come out firing right from the tip. Once we got the momentum, we were able to build a lead and keep it.”
Those early turnovers and momentum that Coach McFarland spoke of came in the first quarter as the Dragons scored the game’s first six points, all by Neal, and never looked back. The first Greyhound points came on a basket by Trent Dryden but the visitors answered with three consecutive baskets from Eli Fuller to go up 11-2. The Hounds briefly fought back with buckets by Ethan Pennywitt and Nick Griffin and a pair of Dryden free throws but the period ended with Fuller getting two more hoops and giving West Union an 18-8 lead.
Pennywitt scored the first basket of the second quarter for the Hounds but it was all Dragons after that. Totally dominating the offensive boards, West Union took advantage of those extra opportunities to run off nine in a row, culminating in a three-pointer from Neal that stretched the lead to 27-10. After another Dryden score, the Dragons polished off an impressive first half with scores from Garett Vogler and Blake Mowen to head to the break up 33-14.
The first half stats were totally lopsided in favor of the Dragons as they used their rebounding advantage to take 40 shots, compared to just 10 for the Greyhounds. The Hounds had twice as many turnovers, 20, as they did shot attempts in the first twelve minutes.
If things could get worse for the home team, they did in the second half as they scored only one basket from the field in two quarters of action. The Dragons began the third period on an 8-0 run to erase what little doubt may have been left as to the contest’s outcome. That lone Manchester bucket came from Jalen James in the third quarter but the Hounds were outscored 15-3 and found themselves in a rather large hole,trailing their guests 48-17 after three.
In the final six minutes, the Hounds could only manage three points, all from the foul line, two from Gage Lucas and one from James. Meanwhile, the Dragons put up 15 more, getting points off the bench from Asa Condon, Jared Fenton,Damon Webb, and Kylar Sellars as they coasted home with a 59-20 win, improving to 6-1 on the season.
“I was very proud of our effort for all four quarters tonight,” said Coach McFarland.
Everyone who took the floor for the Dragons in the game scored, led by 21 big points from Trevor Neal, the only player on either side to hit double figures. West Union also got 8 points from Eli Fuller, all in the first quarter, plus 6 from Kylar Sellars and 5 each from Asa Condon and Mason Fannin.
“It was great to see everyone show up in the scoring column tonight and contribute on both sides of the ball,” added McFarland.
For Manchester, it was Trent Dryden l;eading the way with 8 points, with Ethan Pennywitt adding 4.
Both teams came back Saturday to suffer tough losses with the Dragons falling at Lynchburg and the Greyhounds being dumped 42-26 by Peebles.
18 15 15 11 —59
8 6 3 3 —20
W. Union (59): Vogler 1 0-0 2, McCarty 1 1-2 3, Mowen 1 0-2 2, Fuller 4 0-0 8, Condon 2 1-2 5, Neal 9 2-2 21,
Fenton 2 0-0 4, Fannin 2 1-3 5, Webb 1 1-2 3, Sellars 2 2-2 6, Team 24 7-13 59.
Manchester (20): Arias 0 0-4 0, Pennywitt 2 0-1 4, Griffin 1 1-2 3, Lucas 0 2-2 2, Dryden 2 4-4 8, James 1 1-2 3,
Team 6 8-15 20.
Three-Point Goals: W. Union-Neal 1