It was a half and half weekend for Coach Josh White and his West Union Dragons varsity basketball squad as they hit the high on Friday night with a big win over Whiteoak and then a low on Saturday when a quick turnaround saw them facing a talented group of Waverly Tigers as part of the 2016 Coach Young Classic at North Adams High School.
A Friday night Homecoming saw the scrappy, young Dragons pick up their second win of the season by the slim margin of 71-69 behind 18 points from point guard Garrett Vogler and 10 from Elijah McCarty. The euphoria of that win plus all the accompanying Homecoming festivities made for a late night for the Dragons, who had to come right back on Saturday afternoon to battle Waverly.
“We were in a rough situation,” said Coach White in his post game radio interview. “Last night was Homecoming and an emotional game and a big win and then having to come back at 1:30 in the afternoon and play against a team full of upperclassmen, it was rough. We got pushed around a lot today and we didn’t fight back the way I hoped we would, but you have to learn how to lose to learn how to win.”
“They just beat us to every spot on the court and it paid off for them.”
Early on in Saturday’s contest, the Dragons hung around, with baskets by Craig Horton and Andrew Weeks keeping the Waverly lead at just 8-6, but the Tigers went on a 10-0 run over the next four minutes to extend their lead to double digits, where it would remain the rest of the game.
The second period began with the teams matching three-pointers, Cade Marquez for Waverly and D.J. Welch for the Dragons. With a 22-11 lead, the Tigers reeled off five straight before another Horton bucket slowed them down temporarily. The Dragons got a McCarty three-pointer to get back within 29-18, but a pair of Waverly buckets put the lead back up to 15, where it stood at halftime as Waverly went to the break on top 39-24.
Any hopes that the Dragons may have had of mounting a big comeback were extinguished quickly as the third quarter began with Waverly scoring the first 10 points, getting back to back long three-pointers from senior guard Jake Henderson, part of his game-high 20 points. West Union got a trey from Mason Fannin, but a later 6-0 run put the Tigers even more comfortably in front at 57-30.
The third period ended with a Horton basket, but the Dragons still on the very short end of a 60-33 score.
With the outcome decided, Coach White used his bench liberally in the final eight minutes, and after Vogler hit from beyond the arc and then inside the arc, the Tigers scored eight straight. Late in the contest, the Dragons got a three-point goal from Clayton Madden and two more baskets from Vogler, but in the end it was the Tigers picking up their seventh win of the season against six losses, topping West Union by a final count of 74-47.
After leading the team in scoring in the Friday night Homecoming win, Garrett Vogler repeated that performance on Saturday, pacing the Dragons with 14 points, followed by Craig Horton with 8.
“One of the things I love about our team is that they will never quit and go 100% the entire time every single time, no matter the score,” said Coach White. “Garrett has nerves of steel and he doesn’t get rattled and he is going to keep attacking, and he has stepped up every game as just a sophomore.”
“We are a young team, we have a new coach, we don’t have any experience going into the season. Our job is to just get better, not to judge by the score on the scoreboard.”
Waverly was led by Henderson’s 20 points, joined in double figures by Ethan Adrian with 11 and Mason Chapman with 10.
The Dragons, now 2-12 on the season, got a bit of a break as they will not be back in action until Friday, Jan. 22, when they host the Peebles Indians, weather permitting.
WHS 19 20 21 14 —74
WUHS 8 16 9 14 —47
WHS (74): Howell 2 0-0 4, Joe Henderson 1 0-0 2, Pennington 3 2-2 8, Adrian 4 1-5 11, Marquez 2 1-2 6, Reed 1 0-0 2, Rigsby 4 0-0 8, Chapman 5 0-5 10, Jake Henderson 8 1-2 20, Robinson 1 1-2 3, Team 31 6-18 74.
WUHS (47): Welch 1 0-0 3, Fuller 2 0-0 4, Vogler 5 3-4 14, Fannin 1 0-0 3, McCarty 1 0-0 3, Madden 2 0-0 5, Horton 3 2-2 8, Clifford 0 1-2 1, Weeks 1 0-0 2, Fenton 2 0-0 4, Team 18 6-8 47.
WHS- Adrian 2, Marquez 1, Jake Henderson 3
WUHS- Welch 1, Vogler 1, Fannin 1, McCarty 1, Madden 1