In the midst of a three-game losing skid, including two losses at home, it’s time for the Westland basketball team to put an end to their toughest stretch of the season. After losing a crucial game on the road at Olentangy Liberty (18-1) last Friday, the Cougars dropped two more games at home on Saturday vs. Watterson (17-1), and then Tuesday against OCC opponent Dublin Coffman (15-3). In arguably the toughest three-game stretch that any team has had this season, the Cougars didn’t play their best basketball when they needed it the most. With an OCC-Central division title out of the question, this team must still play with a purpose.
Sitting at 14-5, the Cougars have a great chance to go into tournament time with momentum. Another tough league game comes Friday at home vs. Upper Arlington (10-8), whom the Cougars defeated on Jan. 7., 72-60. Without Devan Williamson in the lineup, Westland has had difficulty rebounding and matching up with the length and athleticism of their opponents. In losses vs. Liberty (58-44) and Watterson (65-54), the Cougars gave up an array of points in the paint, many coming from second chance opportunities.
Westland did a better job on the boards vs. Coffman, out rebounding the Shamrocks 35-26. A slow starting first quarter put the Cougars in a hole early, forcing Westland to battle back all night. Switching to a 2-3 zone in the second quarter helped Westland bring the lead back down to three. The Cougars amped up their defense in the second half, but questionable officiating and wasted possessions contributed to Westland’s 57-53 loss.
Without Williamson’s energy and streaky scoring, the Cougars need to make sure to come out fast and efficient to stay out of trouble in tournament time. Westland seems to not have found which sets work best for their limited personnel, but with games vs. Franklin Heights (7-12) and Central Crossing (2-18) in the final week of the season, the Cougars have a great chance to find their groove. In high school basketball, momentum is everything, and is exactly what Westland needs to continue this exciting season.
Beesler chasing history
Westland senior Cory Beesler is on the verge of breaking the all-time Ohio high school record for three-point shooting percentage. Beesler has shot 56 percent from deep this season (47/84) and needs at least seven more makes and 16 more attempts to qualify for the all-time record. Jeff Miller of Tipp City-Bethel, shot 53.8 percent (56/104) in 1987-88, and has held the record since. In a state that has seen some remarkable three-point shooters, Beesler is having an unprecedented season from behind the arc.
Written by: Zach Fleer (@YS614)