By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
Jan. 16, 2013 — There is something about the All “A” tournament and the West Carter Comets.
After sweeping through the tournaments the past two seasons, the defending champion Comets are almost a completely different team.
Yet, they find themselves in the semifinals of the 16th All “A” Regional Tournament, defeating Raceland 65-46 Saturday night.
“It’s something else to play for,” West Carter Coach Jeremy Webb said. “The experience the “All A” provides and we’ve been to the state tournament for two years in a row, it’s a little bit extra motivation. Last year the guys got a little taste of that and they are acting like they want a little more of that excitement the All A brings to the team.”
Senior Kyle Brown agrees with his coach. His teammates are taking pride in being the two-time defending champions of the small schools tournament.
“Other guys are stepping up,” Brown said. “Inexperience at the beginning of the year kind of hurt us without the varsity experience. They are finally settling in and we’re just having a lot more fun out there playing.”
West Carter was slow out of the gate, just leading the Rams 9-8 after the first quarter. But the Comets turned it on with outside shooting, exploding for 28 points in the second quarter to lead 37-21 at intermission.
The season has not been the best for the Comets who are 3-11 in the 2012-13 season. But Webb believes his team is coming together at the right time to possibly make yet another run at the All “A” state tournament.
“Guys are just relaxing and starting to make plays instead of thinking out there,” Webb said.
The Comets outrebounded Raceland 37-22, including 15 offensive rebounds that led to 14 second-chance points.
“We’re undersized,” Webb said. “I don’t have anybody over 6”1, and it’s just a credit to the energy that the guys are bringing.”
Kyle Brown led the way for West with 17 points. Fellow starter Dalton Spurlock had 11 points. Jacob Layne chipped in with seven points. Tristan Mitchel, Dustin Black and Braden Brown each had six points. Ben Jordan came off the bench with five points. Austin Gee had three points, Jacob Nunley had two points. Tristan Mosbey and Zach Walker each had one point.
In the second half, the lead ballooned to 49-28 after the third quarter and Webb credited half-time adjustments to keep Raceland from mounting a comeback.
“We really picked up in the second half,” Webb said. “We got to move the basketball really sharp in the half court like we talked about and I thought our overall offensive execution was really good.”
Brown admitted he wants to get that threepeat.
“We’re right there,” Brown said. “We’re going to face a tough Russell team. If we just work hard, we’ll be right there with anybody we face.”
West Carter could punch their ticket to the finals of the 16th Region All “A” Tournament Tuesday night against Russell.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.