Led by their two Staitis, the West Forsyth took down North Forsyth in convincing fashion on Friday with a 54-37 victory, preventing the Raiders from notching their first win of 2013-14.
It was yet another frustrating night for North, which fell behind early after making just one basket in the first quarter. West’s 18-point second quarter gave the Wolverines (5-8) a sizable lead that North (0-17) couldn’t overcome.
However, the Raiders’ staunch defense kept the game within reach despite their poor shooting percentage and inferior size. At one point North would go on a small run to pull within 12 points but was unable to create enough momentum to orchestrate a comeback.
West head coach Jim Cook attributes his team’s strong effort to the way they’ve bonded since travelling to Florida in late December for a holiday tournament. While they lost both games there, it proved to be a valuable experience for the Wolverines.
"I think our Florida trip, spending a lot of time together, kind of shows on the floor now," Cook said. "We’re passing the ball to the open man now, we’re being very unselfish and we’re committing to making good decisions and defensive stops.
"It was a good win against a very gritty team, very scrappy team."
West’s two Staitis paved the way to victory, accounting for two-third of their team’s offense—Nick scoring 21 points, Jimmy netting 15.
"They were on tonight," Cook added. "The energy out of both of them led the charge, and that led to some easy buckets inside."
The dynamic between the Staitis was an interesting one, as each seemed to take over individually at different junctures of the game. While it would have been preferable for West to have both firing at all cylinders throughout the contest, their combined domination maintained a healthy lead for virtually the entire night.
"I’d like to say that was by design, but no," Cook said. "There are times when they’re both on fire, but tonight one of them got hot and the other took a backseat, and then switched.
"They’re both great players and did very well tonight."