Last Modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 11:51 AM
WESTLAKE — The resurgence of the Westlake High basketball program took another step when the Rams hosted a playoff game Tuesday night.
Winning one will have to wait due to Parkview Baptist’s James Thompson, who dominated the paint and produced a triple-double to lead the Eagles to a 50-39 win in a Class 3A bi-district game.
Thompson, a 6-foot-8 center, scored 15 points, blocked 10 shots and grabbed 15 rebounds. Already standing a head taller than any Ram, Thompson’s height advantage became more of a weapon as the Rams starting frontline battled foul trouble all game.
Four Westlake (16-9) players fouled out, including the Rams’ top two scorers, Tyler Johnson and Jacory Washington.
Washington picked up his second foul with 3 minutes remaining in the first quarter and sat out the rest of the half.
The Rams hung close through the first quarter, trailing 8-6. Guard Reed Vial exploded for 11 points in the second quarter as the Eagles (16-13) stretched the lead to nine points at halftime.
Thompson had four blocks and eight rebounds in the half against the smaller Rams.
“(The foul trouble) started in the first quarter,” said Westlake head coach Doug Morris. “It is tough to play against a 6-8 kid with 6-foot kids. The foul trouble was one of our problems, and we did not shoot good either. The free-throw line was not very good to us.”
The Rams made 4 of 14 free-throw attempts, while Parkview Baptist was 21 of 36.
Johnson led the Rams with 12 points, including eight in the second half. Parkview extended its lead to 11 points at the end of the third quarter. Westlake got no closer than nine after that.
Vial led the Eagles with 17 points.
“It is always good to have a guy like (Thompson) on your side,” said Parkview Baptist head coach Don Green. “He is our only starter back. He is a college-bound player. We depend on Reed to give us some offensive punch. When he got started, that got us in the flow of things.
“The first one is always the toughest; we are glad we got this one over. Westlake played well in their home gym. We are glad to get out with a win.”
Morris said he hopes the Rams, who will get all five starters back next season, can continue their improvement next season.
“I’ve started four of them since they were freshmen. We had a great season,” Morris said. “Props to the kids. We were district champs, got a home playoff game, it just did not go our way. Hopefully this year will help mature our kids and we get to where we can win these playoff games.”