Senior guard Cory Beesler of the Westland High School boys basketball team admits that he and his teammates had become a bit overconfident after starting the season with four consecutive victories.
That changed after the Cougars lost to host Thomas Worthington 64-53 in an OCC-Central Division game Dec. 14.
“We really had big heads about our season and our team,” Beesler said. “We all felt we had a real good season ahead of us and we weren’t taking practice as seriously as we should, and that loss really put us where we needed to be. Our last two or three days of practices since then, we pushed ourselves realizing there are teams out there.”
Westland rebounded from the loss to beat host Hilliard Davidson 51-37 on Dec. 18 in a league contest.
The Cougars jumped out to a 20-8 lead by halftime and held the Wildcats without a field goal until 6-foot-6 center Michael Simon scored with 3 minutes, 52 seconds left in the second quarter.
Westland led by as many as 33 points in the second half before sitting its starters for the rest of the game.
“We won and we played very well,” coach Todd Parker said. “Our defense was awesome. They didn’t make many shots, either, but defensively I thought we did what we had to do. We did a great job with their big kid (Simon) for three quarters. It’s a good win and it gets us back on track. It gets us to see how we’re supposed to play. I don’t think the last couple of games we played with that intensity.”
Beesler and senior forward Devan Williamson each scored 11 points against Davidson.
The Cougars were 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Central before playing Olentangy Liberty on Dec. 21. They will not play again until Jan. 4 when they travel to Dublin Coffman for a league contest.
Westland then will visit defending league champion Upper Arlington on Jan. 8.
“We get a little bit of a break,” Parker said. “We go back and open up with Coffman after our little break. We do like to have a little bit of time off because most of times we’re playing a lot of games over (the holiday) break.”
Against Thomas, Williamson led the Cougars with 16 points. Senior point guard KyJuan Grace had 14 points and senior guard Kersey Long scored 11.
“I don’t think any of us have played their best game yet,” Parker said. “I hope not.”
Wrestlers prepare for West Jefferson event
The wrestling team will compete in the West Jefferson Invitational on Thursday, Dec. 27, and Friday, Dec. 28.
Last season, Westland scored 78 points in the event to finish 19th of 21 teams behind champion Pemberville Eastwood (302).
“We’re looking forward to West Jefferson,” coach Bret Busby said. “It’s two full days of hard wrestling. A big tournament and a real test for our team.”
Westland went 3-2 and finished seventh in the 16-team, dual-format Wolfpack Classic on Dec. 15 at Worthington Kilbourne. Pickerington Central (5-0) won the event.
The Cougars alternated wins and losses, opening with a 48-33 win over Buckeye Valley before losing to Freemont Ross 60-18, beating Dublin Coffman B 60-21, losing to Euclid 42-36 and beating Mount Gilead 43-25.
Against Euclid, Westland had to forfeit matches at 182 and 190 pounds.
“I was very happy with our performance,” Busby said. “It hurt beating Euclid out of Cleveland head-to-head and then giving up 12 points for two forfeits. The team is getting stronger.”
Before competing against Thomas on Dec. 20 in an OCC-Central dual, junior Tommy Stone was 13-1 at 170, senior Jacob Ball was 12-2 at 120 and senior Dylan Hernandez was 11-3 at 132