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January 18, 2013

PREP BASKETBALL: West Point concludes area play with 55-47 win over Hartselle

HARTSELLE — Following back-to-back losses to Cullman and Lawrence County, the West Point boys’ basketball team was in desparate need of a victory.

Thanks to outstanding guard play and defense, the Warriors got just what they were looking for, defeating Hartselle on the road by a final of 55-47 on Friday night.

“That was a big win for us to get,” coach Randy Jones said. “Hopefully, it will give us some confidence going into the county tournament next week.”

The Warriors (15-7, 3-3 in Class 5A, Area 15) controlled the game from start to finish and never trailed the host Tigers.

Guards Jordan McKenzie and Kris Keller were a big reason for the Warriors’ success early on.

McKenzie started out red-hot, scoring 11 of his 15 points in the first quarter, including a perfect 3-for-3 mark from behind the arc to give the Warriors a five-point lead after one.

“The guys did a good job of setting screens and getting him the ball,” Jones said of the junior. “When he got it, he knocked ‘em down.”

West Point built up a 31-16 lead heading into the break.

Keller was the second-half star for the Warriors, accumulating 12 of his 16 points in the third and fourth quarters.

The game was not won on offense alone, however, as the Warrior D was too much for the Tigers to handle.

West Point forced several turnovers and bad shots, while also coming up with its fair share of blocks and steals.

“We aren’t a great offensive team,” Jones said. “We have to bring it every night on defense to have a chance to win the game. Our defensive intensity was really good tonight.”

The next scorer in line for the Warriors was Wesley Smith, who collected eight points.

Nick Nuss added seven, while Tristan Dubberly scored four, Josh Looney, three and Ryder Jones, two.

For Hartselle, Timbo Slaton netted 18 points. Preston Adams scored 14.

The Warriors will be on break until next Wednesday when they take the floor against Cold Springs in the first round of the Cullman County Basketball Tournament. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.

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