Familiarity may breed a lot of different things but for the West Johnston boys basketball team, it did not breed a victory Tuesday night as the Wildcats traveled four miles down the road to take on rival Cleveland for the third time in 33 days.
Eleven different players scored for the Rams as they cruised to the 72-47 triumph; their third in as many tries against West Johnston this campaign, in their last non-conference game of the regular season.
Cleveland (5-10) rotated 14 different players in and out of the lineup against the Wildcats as the Rams will now prepare to defend in earnest their Two Rivers 3A Conference title from a year ago over the course of the next month-and-a-half.
The Rams dropped a pair of overtime efforts (including a conference defeat to Triton) and also came up just short in a one-point loss and a separate three-point defeat in the first half of the season.
Cleveland looks like it has learned something from those close calls.
“We’re getting better,” Cleveland coach John Jacobs said. “They’ve just got to keep believing in what we’re doing and keep getting better. We’re about to start conference which is what you’re ultimately working towards anyway.”
The opening minutes of the first quarter set the tone for the game and saw West Johnston (0-14) fall into a hole that was too big for it to dig out of as the Rams came out on fire and built a 20-8 lead after just six minutes. Garrett Davenport, Tonio Mayo and Landry Moore all hit big shots from outside the three-point line to get Cleveland off to the quick start.
Three who mattered
Tonio Mayo, Cleveland: The senior guard led all scorers with 17 points including a pair of 3-pointers in the opening quarter to help the Rams get off to a quick start.
Landry Moore, Cleveland: Moore also connected on a pair of perimeter shots early on to help make room for his teammates as the Wildcats were forced to come out and guard him. Moore finished his night with 11 points.
Ryan Holmes, West Johnston: Holmes was the only Wildcat to reach double digits in scoring with 14 as the point guard continuously split the Rams’ two guards and got into the paint where he did much of his damage.
Tanner Costine, Cleveland: Costine came off the bench and led the Cleveland halfcourt offense and supplied nine points.
By the Numbers
6: Rebounds collected by the Wildcats’ Jonathan Houston.
8: Points contributed by West Johnston’s Mikia Jacobs.
9: Number of three-pointers knocked down by the Rams for the game.
39: Rams’ total bench points.