By DANNY P. SMITH
MABEN – West Oktibbeha boys basketball coach Danny Crawford doesn't want to make it easy on opposing coaches.
When the Timberwolves go into a game, Crawford has a plan and it not only involves the starting five, but he looks way down to the end of his bench.
Crawford used all 13 players available Friday night as West Oktibbeha defeated the Vardaman Rams 61-50.
Von Smith led the Timberwolves with 12 points and Ewrick Jones added 11, but Crawford was quick to point out that getting the win was the result of team effort.
"I'm trying to develop a little depth going into district games and going into possible postseason," Crawford said. "I can possibly play 11 to 12 guys in trying to get everyone in the groove and get everybody comfortable."
West Oktibbeha, which improved to 15-5 overall and 2-0 in Class A, Region 4, went on a 16-0 run to take a 19-5 lead with 3:29 remaining in the first quarter, but Vardaman chipped its way back in the game and only trailed 19-16 with 23.2 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
A three-point field goal by Dre Powell gave the Timberwolves a 22-16 advantage after the quarter.
"We probably could have blew the game open if I had kept it to a seven or eight man rotation, but at this time of the year, you are trying to find kids that can play good basketball," Crawford said. "I want to play 10, 11 or 12 guys a night. I don't want to depend on one or two guys because that makes it easy for the scouting report. You never know who will be the man before the night is over."
There was little scoring in the second quarter, but West Oktibbeha did enough by out-scoring Vardaman 7-4 to go up 29-20 at halftime.
At the end of the third quarter, the Timberwolves held a 46-32 advantage, but the visiting Rams proved to have one last run left in them and cut the margin to 55-46 with 2:38 left in the game.
A pair of baskets by Laquez Bedford, who was one of the last substitutions showing on the book, pushed the lead back out to 61-49 for West Oktibbeha in the closing minutes.
West Oktibbeha 67,
MABEN – The opening game of the night was never in doubt as the Lady Timberwolves easily improved to 12-8 overall and 2-0 in the division.
Breneshia Brownlee, Brittany Jones and Jasslynn Bedford scored three quick baskets to open the game for West Oktibbeha to put Vardaman in an immediate hole it could not dig out of.
The Lady Timberwolves held a 15-9 lead after the first quarter, then went on a 15-0 run during the second quarter to take command 32-11.
"We wanted to work in more of our man-to-man defense so we can get our legs right for district (tournament)," West Oktibbeha coach Kevin Bailey said. "That's why we came out and I told them that we wanted to put them away from the beginning. We didn't want to play around with them."
The Lady Timberwolves were up 41-18 at halftime behind the 11 points of Brownlee.
Brownlee was the leading scorer for the game with 18 points, while Robinson, a Mississippi State signee, added 15 points and Brittany Jones also scored in double digits with 16 points.
Bailey was pleased with the guard play out of West Oktibbeha.
"We wanted to work on our fast break and pushed the ball up the court," Bailey said. "We did a good job of passing the ball, but we can do better. We've got to do a better job of passing the ball."