West boys win battle of Highway 87 with St. Joseph
RECORDS: Victoria West 4-5, St. Joseph 3-2
St. Joseph: Cody Janak 17
Victoria West: Chris Erskine and Ruben Trevino 8
For Victoria West, a cross-town matchup with St. Joseph may not have the intensity of the rivalry they have with Victoria East, but it's still a must win game.
Especially against a school that is more than five times less populous than West.
"We had the pressure because we're the team that's a little bit larger school and we're a different caliber of teams than they'll play in their conference," said Victoria West coach Pat Erskine. "But, when you play any game you've got to make sure that you're ready and you're focused."
Chris Erskine and Ruben Trevino scored eight points apiece to help West (4-5) beat St. Joseph (3-2) 37-23 at the West gym on Tuesday.
Junior post Cody Janak led the way for the Flyers with 17 points.
The Flyers had a week between games to prepare for the four mile trip to West for the game.
Although St. Joseph is in TAPPS Class 4A, the Warriors knew it was important to play well at home against the Flyers.
"For a TAPPS team, they were pretty good," said West point guard James Murphy. "It's not a team you can underestimate. They came out, they were hungry and they played their butts off."
Although the David vs. Goliath comparison is used often in sports, it was fitting this time around for a private school with an enrollment of around 322 playing a public school with an average daily attendance of 1,701.
Flyers coach Abraham Garcia said that this game will help the Flyers prepare for TAPPS 3-4A play.
"If you can compete against them, and I think we did just a little bit, then you're able to get better," Garcia said.
The Warriors jumped on the Flyers early and never trailed.
With St. Joseph playing a 2-3 zone, Erskine made a pair of free throws that ignited a 10-1 West run in the first six minutes of the game.
The first six of Janak's game high 17 points came off a pair of 3-pointers that got the Flyers back to within 10-7 with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
"We got good ball movement, we were able to get the ball inside and Cody was able to finish," Garcia said about Janak. "He just did what we asked him to do and he did a great job today."
The Warriors led by 12 points at halftime and the Flyers didn't get back to within single digits for the rest of the game.
West knew that it had to stop junior Luke Wenske and they did just that.
Wenske, the Flyers primary offensive option, was held without a field goal and scored his only point of the game on a free throw with 6:02 remaining in the first quarter.
"You're going to have to put pressure on him because he runs their offense and things go through him," said Pat Erskine.
Added Murphy: "We just denied him the ball and made the other players score tonight."
The Flyers tried to make things interesting late. St. Joseph cut the Warriors lead to 11, but went without a field goal for 5:17 late in the fourth quarter.
West out rebounded St. Joseph 22-10 and held the Flyers to 26 percent, shooting 8 for 30.
"I said 'Man, coach, if you're shots fall, it's a closer game. I felt like we battled and you guys did some good things,'" Erskine said about the post-game conversation with Garcia.