West Charlotte played more like the Sweet 16’s top team after halftime Monday against Butler.
The Lions (2-0) outscored the Bulldogs by 29 after intermission to rack up a 101-70 nonconference boys’ win in West Charlotte’s home opener. The Lions, who struggled to a 39-38 halftime advantage when their perimeter game faltered, got into character after the break by using defense to set up easy transition baskets. When West Charlotte wasn’t running the floor, the Lions were cutting to the basket for layups and dunks to pull away.
“We played defense better and our shot selection was a little better,” said center Simieon Carter, who tied Isiah Blackmon with a team-high 23 points, all in the paint.
Butler (2-1) gave West Charlotte all it could handle during the first half, playing the Lions to a tie after eight minutes on Orlando Robinson’s basket and forcing West Charlotte to shoot jumpers by collapsing into the lane. The Lions adjusted by extending their defense to pressure the ball across the court and converting Butler turnovers into baskets.
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“They were playing pretty good defense, but we weren’t nervous,” Carter said. “We’re never nervous. We come ready to play every game. We were just tired from our game Friday,” an 86-65 win at West Mecklenburg.
Five Lions scored in double figures with Malik Massey adding 13, Nakia Rivers 12 and Micheal Boone tossing in 10. The Bulldogs’ Robinson led all scorers with 24 points, followed by teammate Raequan Scott’s 16 and Artur Labinowicz with 10.
West Charlotte broke the game open with a 28-16 run during the third quarter that was fueled by Carter and Isiah Blackmon, who scored eight points each as the Lions got into gear on both ends of the floor. They were more dominant in the fourth quarter as Massey scored nine of his 13 points over the final eight minutes and Blackmon added another five. Troy Johnson, a backup forward, sank a 3-point shot to push West Charlotte past the 100-point barrier.
“We practice a lot, so it helps out in games,” Carter said. “We all become better players. It all comes down to sharing the ball and everybody doing their thing when they get the rock.”
BUTLER 70 – Orlando Robinson 24, Raequan Scott 16, Art Labinowicz 10, Stowe 7, Carter 4, Little 4, Gibbs3, Stitt 2.
WEST CHARLOTTE 101 – Simieon Carter 23, Isiah Blackmon 23, Malik Massey 13, Nakia Rivers 12, Micheal Boone 10, Knight 6, Williams 5, Johnson 3, Hatchett 2, McCoy 2.