Cream of the conference
Erik Spencer Hill
On Jan. 11, titans clashed on the basketball court at West Stokes High School.
Both Winston-Salem Prep and West Stokes’ boys varsity teams entered into the evening with perfect conference records of 6-0.
But, no one stays on top forever.
Prep took the lead early in the game and defended it well throughout the night. The Wildcats fought to get ahead and were within five points of taking the lead at halftime, but could not come up with the right stuff in the second half.
In the words of Wildcats Coach Dan Spainhour, “We just stopped scoring.”
Prep came away with a win 54-44 for evening and kept their perfect conference record.
West Stokes was pushed into second place in the Northwest 1A/2A conference standings.
Prep has physicality and skillfulness that is admired by coaches throughout the conference. Spainhour said that Prep is by far the best team in the conference.
But, Prep’s dream team isn’t exactly luck of the draw like other teams in the conference such as West Stokes.
As a public magnet school with an esteemed basketball program, Prep attracts players from other schools in Forsyth County. The county has an open enrollment policy, which means that students have a lot of say in where they want to go to school.
If you’ve got the talent and your grades are good enough, you could end up playing for Prep.
Without surprise, the ability to draw on players from across Forsyth County has drawn criticism from local fans who see the practice as being unfair to local teams.
Prep’s ability to pick-and-choose from a larger pool of talent offers an advantage. It’s nothing new, either. In the NBA, coaches pay millions to make sure they are getting the best of the best.
This doesn’t mean that we should downplay Prep’s victory over West Stokes. There is no doubt that Prep is a phenomenal team. The team’s players have worked hard in practice to gain their perfect conference record on the court this season.
Prep’s team would be impossible to re-create in Stokes County high schools, where coaches are limited to the talent of the school.
But, West Stokes will not have to face Prep forever.
When the 2A conference is redrawn next year (2013-2014), West Stokes will be in the Western Piedmont Athletic conference, competing against Carver, Forbush, North Surry, South Stokes and Surry Central.
Despite the changes to come, Coach Spainhour said that he still thinks that the Wildcats can compete with the Phoenix this season.
Right now, Spainhour said that he is focused on having the Wildcats become the top 2A seed in the conference, so that the team will have the home court advantage when it is time for state playoffs.
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