It was another night of action-packed 1A-5 Conference basketball Friday night from Brady-Hipp Arena in Greers Ferry, as the defending Class 1A state runner-up Mt. Vernon-Enola Lady Warhawks dealt the West Side Lady Eagles their first loss of the season, and the Eagles took down the Warhawks 63-52 for the team’s fourth straight victory.
 
Sr. Girls
Mt. Vernon-Enola-65 West Side-48
Behind a strong performance from senior Gracie Raby, the Lady Warhawks pulled away from the Lady Eagles in the third quarter to secure a key 65-48 victory on the road.
 
West Side sophomore phenom Haley Gentry got the Lady Eagles out to an early 14-13 first quarter lead, scoring all 14 over the span of eight minutes, starting the contest with a personal 8-2 run on two three-pointers and a jumper. Later on in the frame, Gentry cashed in on a pull-up attempt from beyond the arc at the 2:07 mark, adding on another trifecta with 35 ticks left on the clock before Mt. Vernon-Enola sophomore Brooke Adcock answered with a triple of her own.
 
Gentry and senior Kaitlin Towell tacked on layups for West Side to start the second quarter to go up 22-17, however the Lady Warhawks stormed back with a 17-9 run to close the first quarter as senior Gracie Raby took the reins over for the offense, draining a three from the left wing while also getting to the cup for two more and making two free throws. Junior Alyse Ellis and sister Alaina Ellis each added a shot from downtown to give MVE a 34-31 edge at the half.
 
Raby continued her onslaught in the third session of play to widen the lead, scoring on a putback and later a shot down low in traffic, knocking down a jumper from the left elbow before sister and sophomore Kenlie Raby also finished on a stickback. MVE extended their lead to double digits at 46-35 on another three-pointer from Alyse Ellis, as the Lady Eagles ended their scoring drought with a basket from underneath for junior Alex Southerland with 1:25 left, but the visitors went to the quarter break with their largest lead of the night with a second triple from Adcock to make it 53-37 and to cap a 19-6 scoring drive.
 
Gracie Raby scored her final points on two free throws and another driving lay-in from inside the paint, as West Side added to their total on a jumper from junior guard Madison Bailey, as well as two inside shots from Gentry and Southerland and a three from senior Kaylynn Finch to set the final at 65-48. 
 
“Our kids played real hard tonight,” said MVE head coach Adam Carlton, a former West Side student. I was really worried because this was our fourth game in five nights, and we still have one more to play tomorrow night. They [West Side] are a really good group, and [Haley] Gentry put on a nice show there early on by knocking down all those threes.”
 
Gracie Raby, who was selected to the Class 1A Starting Five last season and recently signed to continue her basketball career for four more years at Henderson State University, led all scorers with a game-high total of 27 points. Ellis and Kenlie Raby clipped on 10 points apiece. Gentry had 24 for West Side, who also got 10 from Towell.
 
“She’s such a great kid,” Carlton said of Raby. “The other night at around 9 o’clock, she was in the gym getting shots up. She’s just always in there working hard and looking to improve. She’s never satisfied and probably the hardest one on herself. That group of seniors I have between her, Alaina [Ellis] and Taylor [Keathley] shows a lot of leadership and they run everything we do at practice. I’ve been sick two days this week and missed practice, and they stepped up and took care of everything and did what they needed to do.”
 
The victory moved the Lady Warhawks to 11-2 overall and 3-2 in the conference, their third league victory in a row after starting 0-2. The loss dropped the Lady Eagles to 11-1 overall and 5-1 in league play.
 
“They were unbeaten and had already went to Rural Special and won a game there, a team we fell short to at home, so this is big for our moral considering how crazy this conference is,” added Carlton. “It’s going to be one of those scenarios where every night will be a dog fight and you will need to be ready to go when the time comes.”
 
Sr. Boys
West Side-63 Mt. Vernon-Enola-52
West Side’s Twin Towers duo of freshmen Travis Gentry and Brenton Knapp gave the Warhawks fits from the opening tip, combining for 42 of the Eagles’ 63 total points in this 1A-5 Conference duel won by the home team.
 
Much like his older sister Haley, Travis Gentry got things rolling with two made layups and a clean shot from three-point range, while Knapp, Jared Cothren, Nate Bittle and James Davis got in on the action with baskets of their own, getting West Side out to an 18-8 advantage.
 
The Warhawks stayed in it after sophomore guard Wesley Becker provided four points on a putback and a floater, cutting their deficit to 23-19 on a three-point field goal from Jacob Moix. Gentry and Knapp used their post moves to convert on inside opportunities give the Eagles a 27-19 lead headed to the locker room.
 
Bittle opened up the second half with a lay-in to make it a ten-point game, proving to be the spark the Eagles needed to maintain a double-digit lead at 41-28 as Gentry and Knapp continued to pour it on to end the third quarter and begin the fourth, pairing up to score 25 of West Side’s final 31 points, dominating down low while also making the most of trips to the line, coasting the rest of the way to seal the 63-52 victory.
 
“I thought we did a good job tonight as far as getting hands on the basketball,” said West Side head coach Keith Brown, who is in his first season at the helm of the boys program. “I felt like we rebounded the ball pretty well all night and got out to their shooters when we needed to. Offensively, we struggled a bit, but we did what we needed to.”
 
Gentry fired in a game-high 24 points for the Eagles, while Knapp followed with 18. Becker led a trio of MVE double-figure scorers with 19, also getting help from Wayce Howard’s 15 and Jasper Lasley’s 12.
 
“They are babies, only being freshmen, but they mean the world to us,” Brown said of the two post players. “They don’t play like freshmen. They make big plays and they are not afraid of the moment, and just do a great job when their numbers are called.”
 
The victory was the fourth consecutive one for the Eagles, who improved to 7-5 overall and 4-2 in the league after a slow 3-5 start to the young season. “A win like this gives us a lot of confidence. I knew there were going to be growing pains early on. We started off slow, but when you play kids this young it’s going to happen. We’re looking better in practice, and it’s starting to show in up in games now. I’m really proud of them and I feel like this team has a really high celling, and they are going to improve the whole year.”
 
The Jr. Eagles took the first game of the evening by a score of 48-24 as forward Lindon Nolley used his size to muscle inside for 12 points. Dominic Smith was close behind with 9.
 
West Side’s teams were back in action on the road last night at rival Concord in yet another important