By MATTHEW STEVENS
EUPORA – They got booed as they entered the building and started to smile.
The trio of veterans on the East Webster boys basketball left the Eupora gymnasium with a smile after 68-57 victory in a Webster County rivalry.
It began with the Wolverines point guard Ledrick Patterson carving through the Eupora full-court pressure to the tune of 18 points while Eagles fans taunted him every time he touched the basketball.
“He’s going to step up no matter the situation and I truly believe he’s the type of competitor that the whole team needs to rally around if we’re going to get better,” East Webster head coach Corey Stidham said.
Patterson had half his points in the final quarter
The Wolverines (13-8) got eight of its first 11 points of the game from senior Jamie McKee as the 5-foot-10 shooting guard looked at the Eupora fans every time he made a shot from beyond the three-point arc for his total 14 points.
“He didn’t even have his shot falling tonight but did some good things to help the team stop some runs from them,” Stidham said.
Finally, the x-factor of Tuesday night’s road victory was the attacking of the basket by senior guard Miguel Graham. The 6-foot guard had eight of his team-high 19 points in a second-quarter mostly on drives to the hoop either off turnovers or through the Eupora frontline.
“What’s important in a game like tonight is our older players understand what they’re supposed to do and act like there’s no pressure on them to perform,” Stidham said. “I’ve got a group of veterans I can count on and that’s so nice when the game starts.”
In a third quarter that turned a four-point East Webster lead into a nine-point advantage with 7 minutes left, the Wolverines duo scored every one of the 20 points except for a lay in by junior center Charles Guyton.
“I’m going to take part of the blame on this one because we’re still working on our rotations since we only have six guys on this team,” Eupora head coach Curtis Ford. “I told them tonight we’re going to have to get in tip-top shape and play with more of purpose to improve in the second half of the season.”
Eupora (5-11) was led by the game-high 20-point scoring effort of Deshawn Starks with no other player in double figures.
East Webster 54,
East Webster head coach Mandy Fondren was not only encouraged by her team’s fourth win of the season but for the simple consistency of putting the ball in the hoop.
“As you know we’ve just had trouble scoring all season but was able to put together some easy buckets when we broke their press,” Fondren said.
The Lady Wolverines (4-17) got double figure effort from Mary Jo Christ (11 points) and Kentrina McCurry (10 points) while limiting Eupora’s star guard Roshanda Brantley to just 15 points.
“(Brantley) is the only real scoring threat we have and so what we’re forced to do is try to get points from our defense,” Ford said. “The problem is when they broke down our full-court stuff, it usually meant a wide-open layup.”
Eupora (3-12) cut the lead to eight midway through the fourth quarter but six consecutive points by East Webster thanks to the steady point guard play of senior Swayze Hollenhead.
“We’ve been stressing that if we take care of the ball and play good defense, we’ll be in every game,” Fondren said. “That happened and the kids believed tonight. It’s that simple.”
East Webster will travel to Bruce Friday while Eupora will have a road test on that same night at J.Z. George.