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Kenmore West bests East for second time in boys basketball

Shay Cuadra and Kenmore West earned a second win this season over rival Kenmore East. (Photo by Jeff Barnes)
Helter-skelter was the phrase used for this latest Kenmore West win over rival East.

Quinton Campbell finished with 20 points as Kenmore West beat East 64-47 in the second game of the Battle of Kenmore basketball doubleheader that was played Jan. 11 at Ken-East.

It was a sweep for Ken-West, as earlier in the night the Lady Blue Devils posted a 55-26 win over the Lady Bulldogs.

While the final scores suggests that the Blue Devils were probably in the drivers seat the entire game, that was hardly the case as once again the upstart Bulldogs threw a scare into their district rivals.

Almost a replay of when the two teams met in the finals of the Ken-Ton Classic on Dec.28, a game the Blue Devils narrowly won 51-46, once again it was Ken-East that set the tone out of the gate.

Michael Crawford (20 points) hit a couple baskets and point guard Pat Schroeder did a great job of running the offense as East built a 10-2 lead that had West on its heels. But West’s Noah Whalen (14 points) worked hard to trim the lead to 10-5.

“Coach (Mike Meetze) said we just want to get helter-skelter out there,” Whalen said seconds after the final buzzer. “That’s our game — running, scoring baskets. Our offense comes from our defense. Coach said we had to keep our heads into it. It’s a rivalry game, you’ve got to play with your heart. It’s all about heart — it doesn’t matter what the other team’s record is, you go at it.”

After last month’s meeting, Ken-West’s Meetze gave full credit to East coach Jay Robbins for devising a gameplan that slowed the pace down which played into the Bulldogs’ favor. This time, West was focused on setting pace.

“I told them before we came out we’re going helter-skelter and they all laughed,” Meetze said. “I said we need to get this game ugly and up tempo because we don’t want to play against their zone, which is pretty tough. Their trying to limit Q (Quinton Campbell) and we’re really trying to push the ball.”

Taking a page from the loss to Niagara Falls, Meetze told his team to play hard and try to frustrate East with hand checks, as Niagara Falls did to them. The Blue Devils got the message.

West put the game out of reach with a 14-0 run that was highlighted by eight straight points from Campbell.

Campbell drove inside after slick pass from Alex Price (nine points). West’s 6-foot-7 senior then hit back-to-back three-pointers that brought the “Blue Devil Army” at the game to its feet.

“There’s a dirty secret,” Meetze said with a grin. “He’s probably my best three-point shooter or maybe my second in practice.”

One of the most physical Battle of Kenmore basketball games in years, both teams earned its fair share of fouls as virtually every starter was in foul trouble by the early second half.

That’s when Meetze said his bench was key as they not only closed the gap, they gave West the lead going into halftime.

West chipped away and by 5:09 mark of the second, a Terell Ford free throw tied the game at 15-15. Teams were essentially trading baskets with John Becker and Schroeder keeping East slightly ahead.

But a three-pointer and going 2-of-2 from the line courtesy of Noah Whalen gave Ken-West a 30-27 lead at halftime. Though the Bulldogs didn’t pack it in by any means, it was a struggle to maintain the same intensity they brought in the first half.

“We came out flat coming out of halftime,” East senior John Becker said. “We came out firing pretty quick in the first half, which was good because we got momentum. But it was tough to get the momentum back in the second half and it just killed us.”

The two schools will meet again on Feb. 8 at Ken-West in another hardwood doubleheader.

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