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January 10, 2014

West Lauderdale sweeps Kozy in district opener

— COLLINSVILLE — West Lauderdale boy's basketball head coach Duran Clark will take it.

    Despite shooting under 50 percent from the free-throw line, the Knights pulled out a 47-37 win in their district opener against Kosciusko Friday night.

    West Lauderdale (16-2, 1-0) had to grind more than it has for most of the season, even trailing the Whippets late in the second quarter. However, a strong second half helped Clark and the Knights put a happy end to a stressful night.

    “Look at my face, I'm still sweating,” Clark said. “We knew it was going to be a close game. We got to win them at home, and then we can steal some on the road.”

    Senior Vince Watkins led West Lauderdale on the night tallying 22 points and 10 rebounds, including a three-point play right before the half to send the Knights into the break up 23-21. E.J. Collier was also in double digits with 11 points.

    “Vince is are go-to guy,” Clark said. “Not only does he score, but he also puts other people in position to score. He is not selfish. We give him the ball because we know good things happen when it is in his hands.”

    Watkins said he was happy with the win but noted the Knights will have to improve from Friday night's performance if they want to attain their goal of making it to Jackson for the state championship.

    “I just played my game tonight and did my best,” he said. “Hopefully by February we will be clicking better.”

    West Lauderdale will continue district play on Tuesday when they travel to Leake Central.

    “We are just taking it one game at a time,” Clark said. “We have nine district games left, and we know all of them are going to be a grind.”

West Lauderdale girls 51

Kosciusko 33

    Keke Martin led the Lady Knights with 16 points and was followed by Mallory Thompson with 10. West Lauderdale improves to 8-9 on the season and 1-0 in district and will travel to Leake Central on Tuesday.

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