BOONVILLE — On Friday night, East Wilkes travelled to Boonville to take on the Starmount Rams. With only a few weeks left in the regular season, every Mountain Valley Athletic Conference game is becoming more and more important.
The Rams came into the game only having lost one MVAC game, while East Wilkes has yet to win a game in conference play. Starmount was able to take control of the game early on, and the Rams never looked back as they took a 77-47 win over the Cardinals.
“(Overall) it was embarrassing, and a lack of effort,” said East Wilkes head coach J.K. Adkins. “We played pretty good basketball twice this week, we had a three-game stretch and this is the third of that stretch. We played good enough on defense to almost win the two previous, but then tonight we decided we didn’t want to play defense. It is what it is.”
The Rams started things off with a three-pointer by Griffin Cass in the first few seconds of the game. East Wilkes’ Bryce Vestal put up a two-point shot for a 3-2 game, but it would be the only basket the Cardinals would score for six minutes. Starmount went on a scoring run with Trey Dezern knocking in a lay-up, then a three-pointer, which was then followed up by a basket from Cass and a free throw by Cass. Ethan Barnes was able to put in a shot with less than two minutes left to make the score 13-2.
East Wilkes put in its second basket of the night as Trey Lambert put in a three-pointer from outside the arch for a 13-5 game. As the buzzer was about to sound, Dezern gave Starmount one more basket from the key. Starmount took a commanding 15-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter continued on the same way with Starmount outscoring the Cardinals 19-8. At halftime, the Rams had a 34-13 lead over East Wilkes.
“I think our mindset wasn’t right when we got here,” said Adkins. “We didn’t approach the game right and the end result is what you saw.”
After halftime, East Wilkes came out of the locker room and scored more points in the third quarter than it did in the first two quarters combined. The Cardinals put up 14 points while Starmount put up 23.
Jaylin Salters put in a free throw in the first minute of the third quarter, which broke the scoring drought for the Cardinals. Vestal put up 10 points in the third quarter for East Wilkes. Although East Wilkes started to play harder, Starmount was still holding on to a 57-37 lead.
In the fourth quarter, East Wilkes and Starmount both scored 20 points. Eric Wiles showed off his skills late in the fourth as he threw down a dunk that put the Starmount crowd on its feet and gave the Rams a 70-38 lead. East Wilkes kept pushing and didn’t give up, but the Rams had all of the momentum to take a 77-47 conference win.
“We’re getting better with time, we just have to keep digging and keep believing,” said Adkins. “(The first win) will happen, and I think that we are working hard enough to do it. We just didn’t put forth a very good effort tonight.”
30-for-43 in field goals, 5-for-11 in three point attempts, 12-for-21 in free throws, 24 rebounds, 77 points.
Cass – 17 points and 4 rebounds
Dezern – 16 points and 3 rebounds
Wiles – 12 points and 4 rebounds
Smythers – 9 points and 6 rebounds
Bridges – 7 points and 5 rebounds
Johnson – 7 points and 2 rebounds
Redmon – 5 points and 1 rebound
Barnes – 2 points and 4 rebounds
Vestal – 2 points
East Wilkes stats:
16-for-36 in field goals, 6-for-12 in three point attempts, 9-for-20 in free throws, 14 rebounds, 47 points.
Vestal – 29 points and 5 rebounds
Lambert – 9 points and 3 rebounds
Sidden – 3 points and 1 rebound
Chapman – 2 points and 1 rebound
Lovette – 2 points and 2 rebounds
Longbottom – 1 point
Salters – 1 point and 1 rebound