By MATTHEW STEVENS
MABEN – The best sight all evening for the East Webster Wolverines boys basketball program was having its starters sit next to head coach Corey Stidham with a 30-point lead.
The Wolverines (11-7, 1-1 in Region play) used an early 18-2 run where their defense didn’t allow a field goal until their was 2 minutes left in the first quarter.
“We played well enough early that we were able to get a lot of young kids opportunities to get experience and quality minutes tonight,” Stidham said. “With a season as long as this and with as much youth as I got, that’s always important.”
East Webster guard Miguel Graham got the home team off to a fast start with baskets off the Wolverines’ full-court defense causing consistent turnovers. Graham had six of the Wolverines first eight points and forcing Hatley head coach Shane Nichols to call a timeout less than two minutes into the game.
“Our starters and leaders were able to set the tone early,” Stidham said. “That intensity was so key because with our team it just feeds throughout the bench when I sub them out for a breather.”
Graham led all scorers with 12 points on the evening as the Wolverines had 12 different players register in the scoring column Tuesday night.
East Webster junior guard Ryan Johnson had a season-high nine points, all coming in the final quarter, to lead the charge off the Wolverines bench.
Wolverines’ senior point guard Ledrick Patterson turned into a primary distributor against the smaller Hatley guards and even hooked with Graham on a backdoor alley-oop layup in the second quarter to make it a 32-10 advantage. From that moment, East Webster would coast the rest of the way with backups for a 38-14 halftime lead.
The Wolverines return home Friday against Calhoun City where they’ll match up with a Wildcats team that has six players averaging double-figure scoring efforts.
East Webster 28
The good news for East Webster head coach Mandy Fondren is she may have found an offensive scoring threat despite being blown out by 22 against Hatley.
The problem is that player, Quantesha Patterson, is just in eighth grade and therefore is unable to practice with the Lady Wolverines team on a day-to-day basis.
The younger sister of the starting point guard on the boys varsity team and Starkville Daily News football player of the year scored a team-high 10 points in East Webster’s 50-28 home loss to Hatley Tuesday night.
“We got off to a good start but once again we struggle sometimes offensively,” Fondren said. “I’m working with a lot of 10th graders and (Patterson) is a eighth grader so she’s just figuring out how good she can be.”
East Webster (3-17, 1-1) utilized a full-court trap to try and speed the tempo of the game up but without a primary ballhandler beside senior captain Swayze Hollenhead, the Lady Wolverines turned it over consistently leading to several easy buckets for Hatley.
“Our full court stuff works but sometimes we struggle to figure out how to take care of the ball,” Fondren said. “I’ve been using a five-in and five-out sub strategy for a couple games now and it’s worked out OK but it doesn’t help with consistency.”
Hollenhead had six points for East Webster.
Seven of East Webster’s eight losses have come by 10 points or more since a 19-point victory over Eupora on Dec. 13.