West Oktibbeha tips off its annual holiday tourney
By BEN WAIT
The West Oktibbeha high school basketball teams are set to host their annual Christmas Shootout today and Saturday.
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Both teams will be in action tonight when they play West Lowndes and will conclude action Saturday night playing rival East Oktibbeha.
Danny Crawfordâ€™s boys squad sits at 8-2 with their two losses coming to 6A Columbus and 4A Noxubee County. Â They are coming off a win against Noxubee County and Crawford expects the confidence level of his team to be high.
â€śPlaying bigger schools really helps out our team,â€ť Crawford said. â€śWhen you go from playing bigger schools to smaller schools it gives you an advantage. Â I expect my team to be very aggressive this weekend.â€ť
The Timberwolves have started games strong but have collapsed in their two losses in the second half. Â That has not happened in their last two games against East Oktibbeha and Noxubee County.
â€śLast two games against East Oktibbeha and Noxubee County we have finished strong,â€ť Crawford said. Â â€śStarting strong and finishing strong is what I am looking for from my team this weekend.â€ť
Kendrin Yates has been the go-to player all year for the Timberwolves. He finished strong Tuesday night scoring eight points in the fourth quarter. Â Consistency has been the key for Yates all season and Crawford expects nothing less this weekend.
â€śYates needs to be consistent,â€ť Crawford said. Â â€śHe has been giving us 28, 25, 20 points a game this season. Â He has been consistent and I expect him to carry it over to this tournament.â€ť
Yates worked hard this offseason and improved his game. Â He hit the weight room and improved his size to make him a dynamic threat.
â€śHe worked hard this offseason,â€ť Crawford said. Â â€śHe has gotten stronger and has not avoided contact like he did a year ago.â€ť
The girls come in off a tough loss to Noxubee County. Â Head coach Marcus Johnson thinks this tournament came at the right time for his team.
â€śThis tournament comes at a good time for us,â€ť Johnson said. Â â€śWe get to play some smaller schools after playing bigger schools. Â My team has learned a lot from playing bigger schools and it will help us in this tournament.â€ť
Johnson put in a new defense in their last game and change seems to be the only constant for his team.
â€śI am going to throw out a couple different defenses,â€ť Johnson said. â€śI am preparing my team for the rest of the season.â€ť
Junior Jaslyne Bedford has been the consistent piece for the Lady Timberwolves this season. She is averaging a double-double this season. She has stepped up and become the leader on her team.
â€śJaslyne averages 20 points per game,â€ť Johnson said. Â â€śTake that away and we are not the same team. Â She is very important to this team.â€ť