WMCS captures 11th straight win in thriller at home
By Chuck Livingston Sports Editor
West Memphis Christian seems to be peaking at the right time. District rival Marshall Academy found out the hard way. The Black Knights welcomed the Patriots to their home gym last night and captured a tight 63-61 win that gives West Memphis Christian (19-2 overall, 4-0 district) pole position in the league all by its lonesome. 14 was the magic number last night as the hosts charged out to an early 14-point lead before clinching the win on a Hunter Weathers tip-in with 14 seconds remaining to give West Memphis Christian the 63-61 lead. Marshall got the ball to Cortez Love, who scored a game-high 30 points, but he missed a jumper and the Black Knights rebounded to clinch one of its biggest wins of the year. “I’m so proud of our seniors and their leadership tonight,” said West Memphis Christian head coach Rob Garlington after the game. “Scoring is important, but we played great team defense, led by Landon Pike and Tra Doolittle.” Doolittle led West Memphis Christian with 19 points, Martinez Harper hit for 16 and Kentrale Green came up with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. Garlington wasn’t shy when he described the importance of the game. “Last year Marshall beat these guys by double-digits five times,” said the first-year head coach. “This win was huge for our guys mentally to get past that hurdle. We knew that Marshall would give us a test and we were looking forward to it. We play on Monday at their place and it will be just as intense.” In the early portion of the game, it appeared as though the Black Knights wouldn’t have much to worry about as West Memphis Christian took that 14-point lead. Instead, Marshall worked its way back into the mix. “It (the lead) gave us some confidence, but our big guys getting in foul trouble hurt,” said Garlington. “We got out of rhythm and they went on a run. With this rivalry, you knew that it would be close and I was proud of my guys that they held on and didn’t get nervous when Marshall did make a run.” The victory was the 11th straight for West Memphis Christian, who has but four regular season games left. On Friday night, the Black Knights will head to Lee Academy before returning a trip to Marshall Academy on Monday night. West Memphis Christian will return home to play NEACHE on Tuesday, January 26 for their annual Winterfest game.