West escapes with second win of season over Bulldogs, 81-74

West led a close game most of the way and held off Bearden 81-74 on Friday in the Rebels’ second win of the season against their crosstown rivals. Drew Standifer led the Bulldogs (16-7, 7-3 District 4) with 28 points, including 15-of-19 free throws. “They had (post players) Carson (Brooks) and Chris (Smith), and they were fouling me a lot,” Standifer said. “I had to shoot a lot of free throws, and I had to make all those free throws to get our points.” One such free throw tied the game with 4:50 left in the third quarter, when he converted the basket and the foul shot. After Daquan Wright tied it back up a minute later, though, West (15-3, 9-1) took a lead that they held the rest of the game. “Drew is an incredible post player, but I work against Carson every day in practice so it really helps when I go up against someone like Drew,” Smith said. Brooks was in foul trouble much of the game and fouled out in the fourth quarter, which allowed for Bearden’s fourth quarter production in the paint. Wright was able to drive to the basket to score the majority of his 22 points at the rim in the fourth quarter. “He was taking it to the rack just like he was doing in the summer,” Standifer said. “He is really good when he is taking it to the rack.” Wright was determined to beat the Rebels in the rematch game, but his coach hopes that this type of performance can help with the rest of their schedule. “Today was Daquan’s best game, so hopefully that might carry on,” Coach Mark Blevins said. Coach Blevins spent the game sitting down in a sweat suit, a seat away from any of the other coaches. He has been sick the whole week, barely making it to school, and was unable to run the team aside from calling in the plays using his usual hand signals. “It’s kind of depressing because we all love him and we know he’s hurting right now,” Wright said. “Even when we are on the court, we are trying to play our best for him. “We’re used to him screaming, yelling at us all the time. He really can’t do that because he’s sick and he doesn’t want to get us sick.” As Bearden hopes for its players to remain healthy, it also hopes for them to remain confident. The two losses to the powerhouse down the road cannot define its 2011-2012 season. “I see it as just a bump in the road because we’ll get over it,” Standifer said. “We’re going to get better; we got to get better for the playoffs. “So I’m not going to let it stop us.” Ball handling and defense will be the areas the Bulldogs will look for improvement, as they had 16 turnovers in the first half and allowed two Rebels to score over 25 points. The Bulldogs will look to get back on the right track Tuesday, when they host Heritage. Jacob Steimer is the sports editor of The Bark. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.