Jan. 30 at home, Westminster basketball clinched their first conference win of the season over cross-town foe, Thornton. Behind excellent offensive spacing under new coach Wolves’ coach Nick …
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Jan. 30 at home, Westminster basketball clinched their first conference win of the season over cross-town foe, Thornton. Behind excellent offensive spacing under new coach Wolves’ coach Nick Ciancio, Westy tallied 85 points — their second-highest output of the season — in the 14-point victory.
“We made some adjustments in practice and tried to focus on using both sides of the floor, maintaining appropriate space, and that’s something the kids have bought in on the last month or so,” Ciancio said after the game. “It has helped us move the ball appropriately.”
As the lead changed hands between the two squads nine times with four ties in the first half, Thornton claimed a 39-38 lead going to the break. Eight different Trojans found the score sheet, including sophomore Tristen Rose, who led the group with nine points. On the other side, seniors Orlando Morgan and Jesse Carrillo had 11 and 10, respectively.
Not much changed to begin the new half as the leader continued to change hands at a consistent rate. Four more lead changes and ties set the energetic gymnasium up for quite the ending with Westminster leading 54-51 going to the fourth.
Three more lead changes in the first two minutes and two seconds of the new frame portrayed a tight ending, but the game flipped with 5:29 left and the Wolves up 59-57.
After a blocked shot by Thornton junior Anthony Sandoval, a couple of shoves by members on the court began a brawl near half court between the two teams. Five players were ejected (four from Thornton), and Westminster — after a long delay — was given the opportunity to take six-straight free throws because of the fouls committed on the court. Stepping to the line and draining five of six free-throws, junior Robert Barron, who also added a three-pointer seconds later, swelled Westy’s lead to 67-57 with only 12 seconds coming off the clock (5:15 remaining).
“It’s huge when you can get eight points and basically do that without the clock running. Also, to have Robert — who is a JV guy basically — to step up cold off the bench and knock down shots like that for you energizes the entire team,” Ciancio said.
The game then got out of hand for the visiting Trojans, as the momentum shifted to the other side of the court. An 18-14 run to end the affair kept the Trojans winless in conference play — despite being right in the thick of things in the first 26 minutes and 31 seconds.
“We battled Thornton a couple of times, and I would say it has turned into a rivalry for us,” Ciancio said. “It was good for the boys to come together as a full unit and get this win.”
Leading the Wolves in scoring, senior Seneca Brewer tallied 22 points followed by 16, 13, and 12 from Carrillo, Morgan, Barron. Thornton was led by Alfonso Salais’ 15 points, as Rose recorded 14. Senior JR William also tallied 11.
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