West Stokes lacrosse team has seven games left to go, but has already set a memorable milestone with having their best season yet since beginning in 2013.
“We want to finish that stretch with a .500 record or better. That goal is reachable, but not without some hard work,” said Wildcats coach Colon Moore. “The thing that we’ve struggled with up until now is believing that we belong on the field with some of these more experienced teams. There’s been a mindset because we’re a relatively new team, we’re expected to not win many games. That mindset is slowly disappearing and the guys are starting to realize that they do belong.”
West recently banked their first conference win of the season against Atkins in a 12-1 win.
“Our patience on offense is improving,” Moore said. “We’ve finally seemed to realize there is no 20 second shot clock in high school lacrosse and that’s actually ok to pass it a few times before you shoot it. That patience has allowed us to evaluate our opponents defense and look for opportunistic shots,” he said.
Senior captains Jacob Moore and Jaden Knowles led the offensive attack with 10 points including goals and assists.
“The stat we don’t track is the pass before the assist,” Moore said. “Both of them did a tremendous job of setting up scores in that fashion.”
Junior Patrick Thigpen picked up nine ground balls and Michael Rutherford along with Patrick Ellis picked up six each.
“This game allowed us to play a lot of our players and the younger guys really showed us how much they continue to improve,” Moore said. “I was impressed with their ability to pass and catch the ball with a lot more consistency and how aggressive they were on defense.”
Like West, Atkins is a fairly new program and Moore noted he was impressed with how much they’ve improved.
The Wildcats went on to defeat Southeast Guilford by jumping out to an early 7-2 lead in the second quarter and finishing with a 10-5 win.
“They wanted that bad and just as impressive to me is the determination they have to do more the rest of the season,” Moore said. “Southeast did a good job of putting pressure on Jacob (Moore) and Jaden (Knowles), but both of those guys did great getting the ball into the hands of other scorers and making their presence felt on ground balls.”
Ellis and Alex Puckett netted 3 goals each. Moore added two, Knowles and Marcus Dowdy one a piece.
“Our defense put pressure on their offensive threats for 42 minutes of the game. We got a little complacent in a stretch of six minutes of the fourth quarter and gave up some completely unnecessary goals,” Moore added.
West is continuing to develop defensively.
“We’re getting our sticks on our opponents the right way and not just swinging sticks at them. Reid Pettitt has stepped in and done an outstanding job at goalie for us. Reid didn’t start out the season with the intentions of playing goalie, but circumstances put us in the situation of needing someone to step up and do that. He jumped in and has really done a tremendous job,” Moore said.
“We have a long way to go to be one of the best teams in the state, but we are improving every game and that’s all I can ask of these guys.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.