West Stokes secured its fourth conference championship in school history this season by going 11-1 in the Western Piedmont Athletic 2A Conference regular season. On Friday night, the Wildcats played in the conference tournament championship game at Surry Central and lost 70-57 to Walkertown.
“They beat us in every category tonight,” said Wildcat coach Dan Spainhour. “They were good. Their coach has done a good job in developing players around (Jalen) Cone. Number 5 (Quintin Welch) hurt us. They never lost their poise and we did. That was the difference in the game.”
Both teams fought to a 12-12 tie after one quarter of play. Walkertown’s defense held the Wildcats scoreless for more than five minutes and took a 27-19 lead in the first half.
“They physically man-handled us,” Spainhour said. “We executed better in the second half and cut the lead to three points, but could never get that stop we needed to go ahead. Offensive rebounds hurt us. Our kids tried really hard, but we didn’t play with a purpose tonight.”
Sophomore Elan Muniz started the second half with a three-pointer for the Wildcats, but Walkertown reeled off a 9-0 run to lead 36-22 with 6:05 left in the third quarter. Alex Puckett’s layup moments later sparked nine consecutive points by West and trimmed the margin to five points. Back-to-back buckets by Noah Spainhour to end the period left the Wildcats trailing 42-39 heading to the last eight minutes of the game.
Walkertown used a dominant fourth quarter and outscored the Wildcats 28-18. The Wolfpack made 10 straight free throws in the last 1:38 of the game to hold off another West rally.
Noah Spainhour led the Wildcats with 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Isaac Spainhour added 14 points and Muniz contributed 11. Welch scored 20 points for Walkertown, while Cone dropped in 18, 17 below his average.
Both Noah and Isaac Spainhour made the WPAC All-tournament team and Cone was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. Wildcat coach Dan Spainhour was announced as WPAC Coach of the Year.
West Stokes finished the regular season at 18-7 overall. They will host Smoky Mountain (12-12) of the Mountain 6 Conference on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the first round of the 2A state playoffs.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.