Westlake Demons hold on to beat Amherst Comets

WESTLAKE — The Amherst Comets managed to hang around with hustle and hot shooting in the second half. But it wasn’t enough to overcome a big early deficit as the Westlake Demons emerged victorious 64-58.

The Demons sprinted out to an 18-4 lead after the first quarter. Mostly due to smooth post play from 6-foot-8 junior Gavin Skelly, and the ability as a team to capitalize on Amherst turnovers. Skelly led Westlake with 17 points, and also contributed 10 rebounds and four blocked shots.

“Our pressure bothered them early,” Westlake coach Shawn Hood said. “We’re a finesse team in alot of ways, but it helps to be able to get physical down low and close out games when you need to.”

Westlake’s early advantage was not just in points, but also on the glass. They outrebounded the Comets by a 3-to-1 ratio until halfway through the second quarter. It was then that the visitors were able to turn things around, countering the Demons’ size advantage with an up-tempo pace and by taking chances on defense.

After the rough beginning stages, Amherst outscored Westlake by eight the rest of the way. Unfortunately for them every time they got back in the game — as close as six with 5:00 to play, things seemed to swing back in the home team’s favor.

“Of course getting back into the game is a positive to take with us,” Amherst coach John Srnis said. “But I’m at a loss for words about what happened early on. We lacked intensity, and you’re not going to beat Westlake if you don’t match them in that department.”

Junior guard Garrett Klekota led all scorers with 25, and was literally unstoppable for a time in the late third and early fourth quarters.

He hit a three-pointer to put his team within seven. But Westlake’s Danny Strodtbeck immediately countered that with a three of his own.

On the following two possessions, both players again managed to hit threes for their team. It was a pure staring contest to see who would finally claim the momentum, and a microcosm of how the game played out for both teams.

“We kept chipping away, but we just couldn’t match their presence inside when it came down to it,” Srnis added. For the Demons, Danny Strodtbeck added 16 points including the threes just when his team needed it the most.

The senior, along with Skelly and Jamie Lackner were ready to do the dirty work down low to hold off an Amherst team that never gave up.

“We got a little careless with the ball and felt like we could run the game out too early,” Hood said. “But fortunately for us we were able to start hitting shots, banging it down low and leave with a win.”

Westlake moves to 11-4 overall and 5-3 in the Southwest Conference.

Westlake 64, Amherst 58

Southwestern Conference

AMHERST — Garrett Klekota 8-4 25, Guy Schuler 4-0 8, Rees Rua 2-0 5, Eric Lamb 2-0 4, Matt Kneisel 1-2-4, Nick Glowacki 2-0 4, Adam Srnis 1-0 3. TOTALS 22-6 58.

WESTLAKE — Gavin Skelly 7-3 17, Danny Strodtbeck 5-4 16, Bryan Mackenzie 3-0 8, Shawn Turk 2-3 7, Jamie Lackner 2-0 4, Makis Beach 2-0 4, Brian Guzik 2-0 4, Connor Meek 2-0 4, Josef Hadib-Nissan 1-0 2. TOTALS 26-9 64.

3-POINT GOALS — A: Klekota (5), Eliopoulos, Rua, Srnis; W: Strodtbeck (3), Mackenzie (2).

Score By Quarters

Amherst (8-7, 3-6) 4 14 16 24 — 58

Westlake (11-4, 5-3) 18 8 15 23 — 64

Team Statistics

Field Goals — Amherst 22 of 46 (48 percent), Westlake 26 of 49 (53 percent).

Free Throws — A 6 of 8 (75 percent), W 9 of 15 (60 percent).

Rebounds — A 21 (Glowacki 7), W 31 (Skelly 10).

Turnovers — A 16, W 12.

J.V. — Amherst, 44-42


Last Updated: 1/29/2013 11:22:09 PM EST

From the Bleachers

See All