Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Answer Is Yess for Longhorns

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Answer Is Yess for Longhorns

Article excerpt

KIRKWOOD * John Wright played the role of Ebenezer Scrooge to perfection on Christmas Eve.

The Parkway West boys basketball coach called a practice for that morning in order to keep his unbeaten team sharp and ready to go for the upcoming Coaches Vs. Cancer Tournament.

"You can't give them back-to-back days off," Wright said, conceding that he wouldn't practice on Christmas Day.

Actually, the players didn't mind one bit.

"We got out there and got after it," junior center Wyatt Yess said. "It was good for us."

That 7:45 a.m. practice paid dividends just over 48 hours later.

West showed no effects of a holiday layoff, zipping out of the gates early on the way to a 65-53 win over Kirkwood in the opening round of the tradition-rich 16-team affair at Meramec Community College.

The eighth-seeded Longhorns (7-0) will face top-seeded Hazelwood Central (8-1) in a quarterfinal round game at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

West parlayed its spirited Dec. 24 workout into an early 19-4 lead against ninth-seeded Kirkwood (5-2).

"It was important that we didn't come out sluggish," said Yess, who had a game-high 30 points along with 10 rebounds. "The idea was to set the tone. We play better when we get the lead right from the start rather than having to come from behind."

The 6-foot-8 Yess, an NCAA Division I prospect, scored 10 points to help build the early 15-point cushion.

"You can never be sure how they come out after the break," Wright said. "But they came out ready to roll."

The Longhorns, not only set an early tone, but they were able to hold off a Kirkwood rally that saw the Pioneers climb to within 27- 25 late in the second quarter.

West senior guard Wyatt Harlan canned a 3-pointer a split second before the halftime buzzer to pump the lead to 30-25.

The Longhorns then went on a 15-6 run over the first 5 minutes 26 seconds of the third quarter to regain control. …

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