By MATTHEW STEVENS
EUPORA â€“ 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.
â€śHeâ€™s going to step up no matter the situation and I truly believe heâ€™s the type of competitor that the whole team needs to rally around if weâ€™re going to get better,â€ť 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.
â€śHe didnâ€™t even have his shot falling tonight but did some good things to help the team stop some runs from them,â€ť Stidham said.
Finally, the x-factor of Tuesday nightâ€™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.
â€śWhatâ€™s important in a game like tonight is our older players understand what theyâ€™re supposed to do and act like thereâ€™s no pressure on them to perform,â€ť Stidham said. â€śIâ€™ve got a group of veterans I can count on and thatâ€™s so nice when the game starts.â€ť
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.
â€śIâ€™m going to take part of the blame on this one because weâ€™re still working on our rotations since we only have six guys on this team,â€ť Eupora head coach Curtis Ford. â€śI told them tonight weâ€™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.â€ť
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 teamâ€™s fourth win of the season but for the simple consistency of putting the ball in the hoop.
â€śAs you know weâ€™ve just had trouble scoring all season but was able to put together some easy buckets when we broke their press,â€ť Fondren said.
The Lady Wolverines (4-17) got double figure effort from Mary Jo Christ (11 points) and Kentrina McCurry (10 points) while limiting Euporaâ€™s star guard Roshanda Brantley to just 15 points.
â€ś(Brantley) is the only real scoring threat we have and so what weâ€™re forced to do is try to get points from our defense,â€ť Ford said. â€śThe problem is when they broke down our full-court stuff, it usually meant a wide-open layup.â€ť
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.
â€śWeâ€™ve been stressing that if we take care of the ball and play good defense, weâ€™ll be in every game,â€ť Fondren said. â€śThat happened and the kids believed tonight. Itâ€™s that simple.â€ť
East Webster will travel to Bruce Friday while Eupora will have a road test on that same night at J.Z. George.