72° F Sunday, May 28, 2017

By Steve Habel
Correspondent

DEL VALLE – The formula for success for the Westlake boys basketball team against Del Valle Friday night was easy – shoot, shoot and shoot some more.
But the execution was a bit harder to come by until the very end as the Chaps found a way to make the shots when they counted the most and outlasted Del Valle 62-59 in overtime, capturing a crucial District 15-5A victory before a raucous crowd at the Del Valle High School gymnasium.
“We did what we had to do and found a way to win this game,” Westlake guard Chase Carlton said. “We knew coming in that Del Valle’s guards were going to try to take over the game, and we made some stops on them when we had to and matched their intensity down the stretch.”
Westlake’s Will Morse, shooting sometimes from as far as five feet beyond the 3-point line as both teams played at a breakneck pace, led the Chaps with 25 points and had two big 3-pointers in the overtime period.
The Chaps needed all that Morse provided and more to offset the 20 points by Del Valle’s Dantinique McElveen, 14 of which came in the fourth period and overtime.
Trailing 56-54 early in the overtime period after two free throws by the Cardinals’ McElveen, Morse nailed a clutch 3-pointer to give Westlake a 57-56 lead. Carlton, who spend the entire game driving into the paint and dishing assists to his Westlake teammates, then worked his magic and found Dallen Nelson for layup that pushed the Chaps’ lead to 59-56.
But Del Valle would not quit, as McElveen pushed in a 3-pointer to tie the game at 59-59 with 2:10 to play in overtime. On the next possession, Morse nailed another long shot from well beyond the arc to provide Westlake with its winning margin.
Westlake missed three free throws in the final 14 seconds of the game, giving the Cardinals two more chances to tie. However, McElveen and Jahari Wright both missed 3-pointers in the final seconds, and the Chaps escaped with a win that could have been a lot easier than it ended up being.
The Chaps hit only five of their 15 free throws in the game, a stat that almost came back to haunt them.
“We wouldn’t have even needed to go to overtime if we would have done our work at the free throw line,” said Westlake coach Tres Ellis, who returned to the bench after missing the Jan. 22 win over Lake Travis with a respiratory illness. “We were able to make the most of the things Del Valle gave us and hit some clutch shots down the stretch.”
Luke Rowan added nine points for Westlake, while Carlton hit for seven points and dished out six assists.
“We did what we had to do and found a way to win this game,” Carlton said. “We knew coming in that Del Valle’s guards were going to try to take over the game, and we made some stops on them when we had to and matched their intensity down the stretch.”
Del Valle got 12 points from Wright and eight each from Chris Alfaro and Josh Evans.
Westlake hit on six of its first eight shots and scored seven of the final nine points of the first period to take a 19-14 lead after eight minutes of play. Both teams throttled back a little and cooled off in the second period as Del Valle went to work on the offensive glass and assumed a 30-28 lead at halftime.
“I told our guys at halftime that we were in good shape because we had been outplaying Del Valle at their own game – with a fast pace and relying on the outside shot,” Ellis said. “We felt like we could control things better in the second half, and we did for a while.”
Del Valle missed its first eight shots of the third quarter and made just three of 20 shots in the period as Westlake grabbed a 41-36 lead heading into the fourth quarter. That’s when McElveen caught fire, scoring nine points, including one of two free throws with 10.2 seconds to play in regulation to tie the game. Morse had a good look at a 3-pointer to win the game at the buzzer but missed.
He made up for that with his two 3s in overtime.
“I had a lot of great looks tonight, and I missed some shots that I should have made, but I have the confidence to keep shooting,” Morse said. “We are starting to come together as a team more and more each game – tonight was not just about me shooting, it was about how everyone made a contribution and it made a difference.”
Anderson 7-2
Lake Travis 6-3
Akins 5-4
Westlake 4-4
Austin High 4-5
Del Valle 3-5
Bowie 1-7

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