West Stokes traveled to Walkerton for their first Western Piedmont Athletic 2A Conference basketball game of the season on Tuesday night. The Wildcats were able to hold off a late rally by the Wolfpack and win 64-54 behind the team’s eight three-pointers.
“They have a nice team with a lot of good pieces in place,” said Wildcat coach Dan Spainhour. “This was a big win for us. A lot of people have them as the preseason favorite to win our conference. We’re getting better each time out. We are starting to learn our roles on the team and our rotations are getting sharper.”
The Wildcats never trailed in the game and jumped out to a 4-0 lead behind Noah Spainhour’s two free throws and his brother, Isaac Spainhour’s layup. Sophomore Elan Muniz hit a two-pointer with the score 10-4 forcing the Pack to call a timeout. After back-to-back three-pointers by Walkertown’s Jalen Cone, it cut the Wildcat advantage to 13-10. The visitors tallied the next four points to close out the quarter 17-10.
West Stokes and Walkertown kept pace with each other in the second period with the Cats leaning on Muniz’s nine points, all from behind the three point line, while Cone kept his team in check with free throws and mid-range jump shots. The Wildcats led 34-27 going into the locker room.
“Isaac only had two points at the half and we were doing all the right things for us to be ahead,” Spainhour said. “Good players make other players better and that is what Isaac does. When the other teams are guarding him tight, we need his teammates to step up and I thought Elan did that tonight. He hit some big three’s for us. Alex (Puckett) and John (Brooke) are getting some good minutes down low, and Kelin (Parsons) and Tyler (Smith) came off the bench and gave us some energy when we needed it.”
The Purple Cats started the third quarter with a bang and reeled off seven straight points giving them a 41-27 edge less than two minutes into the period. After a timeout, the Wolfpack responded with a 9-2 run and trimmed their deficit back to seven points. Noah Spainhour broke the run with a three-pointer and West Stokes lead grew to 54-42 as the third quarter came to a close.
West Stokes margin swelled to 15 points before Walkertown started chipping away. Cone scored eight points in the quarter and the Cats were missing free throws and layups allowing the home team to gain momentum. Isaac Spainhour’s three-pointer and layup with 1:35 left in the game sealed the Wildcat victory.
“We started making mad decisions down the stretch and young inexperienced teams will do that,” stated Spainhour. “This is one of the more talented teams we have had, we just need to learn to trust the system and know you don’t have to do something fantastic to win.”
Noah Spainhour led the Wildcats with 19 points, while Muniz had 17, and Isaac Spainhour had 15. Cone led all scorers with 33 of Walkertown’s 54 total points.
The Wildcats improve to 2-3 and 1-0 in the WPAC. They will host rival East Surry on Wednesday and conference opponent Carver on Friday. Walkertown dropped to 3-4 and 0-1.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.