West Side's Eagles displayed a keen shooting eye on Tuesday night while defeating the Guy-Perkins Thunderbirds 60-45 in Greers Ferry.
Shooting guard Bryce Hipp pumped in a game-high 17 points, while point guard Logan Bailey and center Ben Hargrove combined for 23. The Eagles stretched their lead to 27 in the third quarter before cruising down the stretch.
With four returning starters from last year's state tournament team, the 2-0 Eagles are expecting another good season. West Side Coach Benny Brown said his team has had a tendency to play better at home.
“We are pretty good at home. We can play with about anybody at home. We probably will play better on the road this season with a senior like Logan and a shooter like Bryce and then a post-player like Ben. We've got the whole package.
“It's always more difficult to win away from home because the crowd does a lot for you and it's normal to feel more comfortable in the home gym where we practice. It would be hard for us to beat Guy like this over at their place,” added Brown.
Bailey, who dished out 10 assists while scoring 11 points, showed senior leadership by setting up easy baskets for his teammates. “He is so unselfish,” said Brown. “All he wants to do is win. He is just one of those that comes along once in a lifetime. Bryce gets wide-open on those three-pointers because of what Logan does. When Bryce comes across the center line he has the green light and he knows that,” Brown chuckled.
Hipp drilled four three-pointers while scoring all of his 17 points in the first half as the Eagles jumped out to a 22-14 first quarter lead, which grew to 39-23 by halftime.
West Side took the lead for good at 5-2 when Hipp drained an NBA range three-pointer up top following a steal and assist from Bailey.
With the Eagles leading 9-2 after a driving baseline runner by Hipp, Guy-Perkins responded with a 6-2 spurt, culminating with a coast-to-coast drive from forward Justin Tims, who finished with a team-high 13 points for the Thunderbirds.
Guy trailed 16-8 after Hipp popped a three-pointer from left wing off an assist from Bailey but the Thunderbirds pulled within a bucket behind a 6-0 run that ended when Hargrove split a pair of defenders and finished in traffic, sparking a game-changing 11-0 run by the Eagles.
Hargrove added another bucket in transition then reserve post player Tyler Inman scored from left block off a driving assist from reserve guard Keaton Sutterfield as the Eagles took a 22-14 lead to the second quarter.
The Eagles' 11-0 run continued in the second quarter as forward Tanner Galeazzi, who finished with eight points, picked a steal and scored then Hipp ripped a three-pointer from right corner off an assist from Bailey.
Page 2 of 2 - Guy (0-1) pulled within 33-21 on a three-pointer from guard Austin Rimmer but Bailey quickly answered with a strong drive for a layup and Hipp added a tough fall away shot in the lane.
Bailey found Inman posted up inside for a layup as West Side scored six of the final eight points in the first half, taking a 16-point lead to the locker room.
West Side put the game out of reach in the third quarter with five straight, including a bucket deep in the paint by Hargrove off an assist from Bailey and a three-pointer from right wing by Sutterfield, also off an assist from Bailey.
Late in the third quarter, the Eagles took their largest lead of the evening at 58-31 with an 8-0 spurt, ignited by Bailey, who nailed a three-pointer from right wing. Hargrove followed with a driving finger roll and guard Jacob Miller buried a three-pointer from left corner.
Guy outscored West Side 13-2 in the fourth quarter to set the final at 60-45. Reserve guard Jake Nicholson scored the Eagles' only basket of the final period.
West Side hosts Sacred Heart for homecoming tonight.