No team racked up more frequent flier miles en route to the Beach Ball Classic than Westchester (Calif.), making its way to the Grand Strand from Los Angeles.
Checking luggage and other items can tend to be quite the tedious process ahead of boarding a plane. But as the Comets prepared to head back home, they were more than happy to add something else to their baggage claim.
Westchester proved too much for Bishop O’Connell (Va.) in the tournament fifth-place game, shooting 53 percent from the field en route to a 59-42 victory.
The Comets spent a large share of the contest in front, their hot shooting allowing them to lead by as many as 24 points in the second half. They also was able to keep a taller Knights squad under wraps, not allowing easy baskets and crashing the boards.
“We played pretty good defense, especially on (Nate Watson) for the most part,” Westchester (Calif.) coach Ed Azzam said of Bishop O’Connell’s big man. “He got some easy looks, but once we figured out how to help off of him, we were able to frustrate them a little bit.”
Watson was held to 11 points. Matt Lewis also had 11 in a losing effort.
A far cry from the Knights’ previous showing, in which they shot better than 65 percent from the field, the failure to string together consecutive solid performances was troubling to their coach.
“It’s like Mr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde … that’s what we are right now,” he said. “Right now, it is fair to say we are an average team. And we need to find out exactly what type of team we are.”
Meanwhile, three Westchester players scored in double-figures.
Wingman Darryn Everage led the way for the Comets, making eight of his 11 shots fro 18 points. Chris Simmons followed with 12 points, while Luis Rodriguez added 10.
“Offensively, we were able to get some good looks, they didn’t really pressure the wing, so we got some good looks coming off screens and some good cuts,” Azzam said. “That’s kind of the way we want to play. We don’t look for anyone specifically, we have a couple of good players that have first looks, but all of our guys are good.
“… But tonight, we kind of played with the discipline we’ve tried to preach all year long.”
While Azzam said it was slightly disappointing to not come away with the gold basketball given to the winner of the Beach Ball Classic, he is somewhat satisfied with how his team fared this past week in Myrtle Beach.
“It’s been a great, positive experience for us,” he said. “You get to play some of the best competition in the country. We’re slightly disappointed with the way we lost [to Pace Academy (Ga.)], but you lose a game and move on. Hopefully the kids learned a lot from being here.”
WHS (59): Chris Simmons 12, Luis Rodriguez 10, Jordan Brinson 9, Darryn Everage 18, Marquis Moore 8, Maurice Tutt 2.
BOC (42): Nate Watson 11, Matt Lewis 11, Xavier Johnson 8, D’Marco Baucum 7, Quentin Millora-Brown 2, Jahmal Banks 3.
Halftime: WHS 34-19. 3-pointers: WHS 3 (Brinson, Everage 2), BOC 1 (Lewis). Team fouls: WHS 13, BOC 13. Fouled out: Xavier Johnson (BOC). Technical fouls: Chris Simmons (WHS).
Records: WHS 12-5, BOC 8-5.