The West Valley Wolfpack boys basketball team left the Lathrop High School gymnasium with a 22-point victory over the host Malemutes in Tuesday night’s Mid Alaska Conference doubleheader.
However, Wolfpack head coach Colten Growden wasn’t completely satisfied after the 69-47 win which improved West Valley to 9-1 overall and 2-0 MAC.
“We tried to make it a simple game, I don’t think today was a simple game. I do not think we played very good today,” Growden said after the Wolfpack’s postgame meeting in a Lathrop classroom.
Four players scored in double figures for West Valley, led by 16 points from senior Damarcus Davis, which matched Lathrop senior Jhon Rones for the game high.
Fellow West Valley seniors Terrell Peter and Adrian Simon had 13 and 11 points, respectively, and junior Cortarious Mingo contributed 10 points for the Wolfpack.
The Malemutes also got 11 points from senior Mekhi Briggman.
Despite the Wolfpack significantly outscoring the Malemutes, Growden said West Valley let Lathrop “push us away from what we do.”
“It forced us to play more of a 1-on-1 game than I would like to play every day,” he said. “I don’t think we played good team basketball today.”
“Even though we won by a lot, there was a lot of individuals, there were a lot of habits we were trying to break that showed back up in tonight’s game. We can’t be content with this; we need to get back in the gym and work and become better.”
Growden wasn’t pleased with 23 turnovers committed by the Wolfpack.
“Our average is 10. For us to turn the ball over 23 times is very frustrating,” he said. “We know we have to get better from that.”
Growden did see some positives from the Wolfpack on Tuesday night.
“I like seeing that people coming into the game, who might not get as many minutes, were coming in that second half ready to go,” he said.
West Valley led Lathrop (8-2, 1-1 MAC) by only by a point, 15-14, at the end of the first quarter.
“We have relatively quick hands, quick feet but we were down (minus) Ben Kraska for this game with ankle injury,” Malemutes head coach Matt Wilken said. “So that hurt us down low.
“I think early on our quickness, our feet and our hands gave them a little bit of fits; but I think come the third quarter, we just got tired.”
West Valley, however, stretched the lead to 31-23 to end the first half and pulled away for a 52-35 lead in the third quarter.
“We’re going to have to play them four or five times this season. It just a matter of us trying to find a way to overcome the amount of horsepower that team has,” Malemutes head coach Matt Wilken said.
“They’re a bigger, a little more athletic. We’re going to have to rely on our quickness, and stuff like that. It’s just a matter of trying to drum up a little more effort and a little more horsepower.
“That’s a well-coached team and they’re going to go and do some big things this season, I think.”
Lathrop and West Valley play each other again at 7 p.m. Friday in the West Valley Boys Invitational.
The three-day, round-robin tournament includes the Kodiak Bears and the Palmer Moose.
Thursday’s schedule in the West Valley High School gymnasium is Lathrop against Kodiak at 3:30 p.m., and Palmer taking on West Valley at 5:15 p.m.
Palmer and Kodiak meet at 5:15 p.m., before Lathrop and West Valley tip off.
Palmer plays Lathrop at 2:15 p.m. Saturday and Kodiak and West Valley wrap up the tournament with a matchup at 4 p.m.
Lathrop, with four players in double-figure scoring, jumped out to a 21-8 lead in the first quarter and rolled to a 69-42 win over West Valley.
Malemutes junior Tristian Martin scored a game-high 15 points. Freshman teammate TT Tagovailoa contributed 14 points and Lathrop got 10 points each from seniors Lianna Tuck and Ella Roberts.
West Valley senior Sheridan Blasey scored a team-high 14 points and her sister and sophomore Hadley Blasey contributed 10 points.