LEADWOOD — The West County Bulldogs maintained their half-game lead in the MAAA Small-School Conference with a 74-43 win over the Valley Vikings Friday night. For two and a half quarters the game was nip and tuck as Valley gave West County a hard fought contest before the Bulldogs pulled away with the three-ball and a tighter defensive pressure.
The Bulldogs struggled from the floor in the early going as they shot a cold 15 percent in the first quarter (3-20). What helped them obtain a two-point lead at 8-6 was their offensive rebounding which gave way to a lot more chances at the basket than the Vikings.
The Bulldogs pulled down eight offensive rebounds in the first quarter alone, finishing with 21 offensive boards out of their game’s 42 rebounds. Valley finished with 29 total rebounds.
West County corrected their shooting woes in the second half, improving on their 9-34 first half with an 18-36 over the last two quarters, and especially from beyond the arc, improving from 2-11 to 6-11.
The Vikings preferred to push the ball up the floor with ballhandler Lance Midgett breaking through the Bulldogs pressure time and time again, either with his dribble or lob passes down the sideline.
The lead changed hands five times in the first half and the game was tied an equal number. Three pointers by Isaak Vinson from off the bench enabled the Bulldogs to take the lead for good in the closing minutes of the second quarter, 25-21.
Kyle Harrison hit a three to start the second half scoring and the rout was on as the Bulldogs quickly pulled out to a double-digit lead.
Steven Barnett took care of the duties inside the paint with three rebounds and a blocked shot in the third quarter while scoring six of his game-high 21 points. At the same time, Justin Lashley worked the perimeter with a pair of threes to secure himself a 12-point game.
The game was rough in its texture as 43 fouls were called over the 32 minutes of playing time. Five players fouled out in the game.
The game became nearly an all Bulldog affair in a 26-9 fourth quarter as Jesse Waters scored half of his game’s 12 points and concluded a double-double with two of his game-high 10 rebounds.
Valley’s only field goals in the fourth quarter came from Tim Price and Midgett with two each. Midgett finished the game with 18 points and Price, who came off the bench in the fourth tied four other Vikings for second highest with four points.
West County will travel to Viburnum on Tuesday for their next game and Valley will take a Christmas break with their next game at home against Valle Catholic on January 3.
Valley 6 15 13 9 – 43
West County 8 17 23 26 – 74
Valley – Midgett 18, Adams 4, Casteel 4, Cooper 4, Thompson 4, Price 4, Province 2, McPherson 2, Currington1. 3-pt FG – Thompson.
West County – Barnett 21, Vinson 13, Lashley 12, Waters 12, Harrison 10, Coleman 3, Sutton 2, Watson 1. 3-pt FG – Vinson 3, Harrison 2, Lashley, Waters.