By John Conley
Civitas News Service
Westside has been looking for a signature win.
Now they have it.
Junior guard Corey Bowles scored 35 points, including what proved to be the game winner with 36 seconds left, and the AA No. 10 Renegades beat Class A No. 3 Tug Valley, 71-68, on Friday night at Clear Fork.
Bowles had his season-high, which included eight three-pointers, despite battling the flu.
“I’ve already had two or three shots for it ,” he acknowledged. “I wasn’t really feeling my (basketball) shot when we were warming up. But once the game started I did, and my teammates did a great job of getting the ball to me.”
WHS coach Nick Cook thought it was his team’s best performance of the season.
“The mental aspect of the game is what we’ve been talking about for the last two days,” he commented. “We’ve been giving games away at the end, and tonight we played smart.”
Westside had a 66-59 lead when Bowles converted a conventional three-point play with 3:15 to play.
The Panthers (8-2) battled back and eventually tied at at 67-all on Austin Baisden’s lay up off a feed from Mikey Newsome with 1:03 to go.
Bowles scored inside at the :36 mark to put the Renegades (8-5) in front for good.
Aaron Muncy made one of two foul shots to cut the margin to one.
Justin Cogar, who had 20 for Westside, made two foul shots with 9.2 seconds left.
“I just tried not to over think it,” Cogar commented.
Tug Valley didn’t get a three-point attempt off, and a two-point try fell short as time expired.
“I thought everybody who played tonight gave a great effort and contributed to the win,” Cook stated.
“We debated among ourselves on the coaching staff whether to foul and decided not to,” he noted.
Three-point shooting sparked the Panthers to an early lead, which they held throughout the first half.
Tug Valley was up, 38-31, late in the first half, but Bowles knocked down two threes to cut the lead to one by halftime.
“Corey gutted it out,” Cook said. “He and Cogar and Levi (Lambert) have to be the leaders on this team. Everybody looks to them.”
Westside had a 10-0 run in the third to go up by seven, but the Panthers rallied to make it a one-point game heading into the final quarter.
Newsome scored 20 for Tug Valley, and Thomas Baisden had 17. Brewer scored 9.
“Justin Kenneda deserves a lot of credit for the job he did on Brewer,” commented Cook.
Tug Valley was at the Fieldhouse Saturday night hosting Riverside on Saturday. Westside visits Liberty Raleigh on Tuesday.
Score by quarters:
TV …. 21 17 13 17 - 68
WS …. 18 19 15 19 - 71
Tug Valley (68) - Brewer 9, Newsome 20, Thomas Baisden 17, Muncy 1, Sturgill 3, Dillon 7, Austin Baisden 8, White 3. 25 11-17 68
Westside (71) - Bowles 35, Cogar 20, Lambert 6, Kenneda 3, Browning 3, Scarlett 2, Bowles 35, 25 13-18 71