MATHISTON – It was senior night under the lights basketball for the East Webster Wolverines Tuesday.
was the star as the Wolverines welcomed area rival Eupora to town for senior night.
The Lady Wolverines and Lady Eagles took the court first and East Webster scored the double digit victory 43-28.
“We lost to Eupora the first time, but I knew if we ever got them here we could beat them,” Lady Wolverine coach Mandy Jewell said. “The last two games we have been in a slump, so a good solid win gives us enthusiasm to have something to play for. We know we can play well and hopefully, they will show up in the district tournament just like that.”
While Jewell and her team were celebrating the win, Eupora coach Bryant Thomas was contemplating what went wrong and what his team needs to do as they head toward the district tournament.
“Well basically, we didn’t play our best game (Tuesday),” Thomas said. “We split this year with them, but (Tuesday) hands down to the East Webster girls. They played better than we did. They got more plays than we did. We have to get better heading into the tournament.”
The Lady Eagles might not have won the game, but Eupora did claim the first period. Outscoring East Webster by one, the Lady Eagles held a 12-11 lead after one.
The first period was the only one that Eupora would lead as the Lady Wolverines turned their game up a notch throughout the rest of the game.
Second period action was full of defense as both teams remained in the single digits with East Webster scoring six to Eupora’s single basket.
As the teams left the court for the halftime break, the Lady Wolverines clung to a three-point lead 17-14.
Offensively, things widened as the teams returned to the court with East Webster doubling up Eupora 14-5 to take a 31-19 lead into the final period.
With Quantesha Patterson leading the way, East Webster continued their winning run as concluded the final 8-minute period with 12 points to walk away with the victory.
Patterson ended her night with 19 points, while Jaliquah Patterson was the leading Lady Eagle with 10 points.
Following the game East Webster honored a trio of seniors including Katesa Dear, Jada Washington and Kayla Warnock, whom Jewell spoke of fondly.
“Those seniors, I am going to miss them,” Jewell said. “I am losing two of my best ball handlers and one of my better passers who was hurt and did not get to play (Tuesday). We have some big shoes to fill next year.”
With the win, both teams begin preparations for the district tournament, where East Webster enters ranked No. 1 in the division.
East Webster 58
In the same ceremony that honored the Lady Wolverines, the East Webster boys celebrated their lone senior Malik Jones.
“Malik has been with me since the very beginning,” East Webster coach Corey Stidham said. “He is a classy guy with some talent. He loves the game of basketball. This year he has taken that senior leadership role whereas in the past, he was kind of timid. I just can’t say enough about him. I love the guy and appreciate all he has done for us.”
After senior night festivities were complete, the Eagles and Wolverines took to the hardwood for battle. This time the tables were turned as Eupora pulled off a victory over the hosting Wolverines.
Thomas knew upon entering East Webster’s gym Tuesday, his Eagles were in for a challenge with it being senior night for their rivals.
“Honestly, when you come over here on senior night and it’s a cross-county rivalry, it is tough,” Thomas said. “They played hard-nosed and we played hard-nosed. In the end, we both played hard and we ended up getting the victory.”
The tough play started with the opening tip as the two teams found themselves separated by two points as Eupora held a 13-11 lead.
Things were reversed in the second period as East Webster took control outscoring the Eagles 13-10 as the halftime buzzer sounded with the Wolverines leading 24-23.
Coming out of the half, Eupora stepped up to the challenge as it scored more points in one period than in the previous two combined. Posting 25 points to East Webster’s 11 points, the Eagles led 48-35 as the game entered the final period.
East Webster embarked on a comeback during the fourth period, but it would prove to be unsuccessful as they were eight points shy of topping the Eagles at game’s end.
“We hurt ourselves too much in the beginning of the second half,” Stidham said. “We just dug ourselves a bigger and bigger hole, and we just couldn’t get over it.”
Malik Jones concluded his senior campaign on East Webster’s home court by leading the Wolverines with 18 points. Just behind the senior was Derek Jones who scored nine points to close Tuesday’s action.
Leading the way for Eupora was Marquez Wofford with 14 points, followed by Trey Pittman and Derrick Jones with 11 points each.