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Blue Pirates impress West Branch coach in win

WILLIAMSBURG — Williamsburg is the top-ranked team in the District 6 Class 1A standings and played like it Friday in a 75-59 triumph over Inter-County Conference rival West Branch.

Blue Pirates coach Brock Anders isn’t ready to label his team the favorite to win districts.

But West Branch coach Danny Clark, whose team has lost twice to Williamsburg by double digits, thinks the Pirates are the team to beat.

“Williamsburg is state ranked and district favorites,” Clark said. “This is good for our kids to play against teams like them. They are better than us, but we have to get back and win the games we should and play hard. Best of luck to Williamsburg. They are going to represent the ICC well in districts. They are definitely the favorites. We’re pulling for them, and Lambert (Palmer) is a great player. (Drew Hileman) is too. They are tough to guard and fun to watch.”

Palmer dominated the Warriors again on Friday and finished with 20 points and 21 rebounds. He finished averaging 25 points and 20.5 rebounds in two games against West Branch, which won the ICC North last season.

“Lambert gets in the right spots on the floor,” Anders said. “His ability to rebound and get to the basket is uncanny. West Branch doesn’t have a lot of length, and we were able to take advantage of that.”

Williamsburg, now 8-1, led by just six at the half, thanks in large part to six first-half 3-pointers by the Warriors, but the Blue Pirates scored the first seven points of the second half to go ahead 43-30.

“Once they get in their rhythm, they are tough,” Clark said. “We couldn’t stop Palmer on the block. They would miss their initial shot, but we couldn’t get a rebound. Once we start getting outrebounded, we fall behind by 15, and we can’t recover from that. We need to keep it under 10 to make us successful in the fourth quarter.”

As Williamsburg pulled away in the third quarter, West Branch was held without a 3-pointer.

“West Branch is a team that can shoot from the outside, and we knew they were going to make some,” Anders said. “Our goal in the second half was to limit that and get the rebounds and get the ball into the paint. Our guys did that really well. We got the ball inside to Shane (Brantner) for some scores, and Wes McCall and Drew Hileman did a great job defensively.”

Brantner finished with 16 points and seven rebounds, and Hileman added 15 points. Tyler Clark had 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

West Branch’s Travis Rothrock led all scorers with 28 points.

“We have a long way to go yet, and we have to get back in the gym and have some practices,” Anders said. “There are a lot of great teams in single-A and a lot of coaches that have been around a long time. We have a lot of work to do, but these guys have a mission. It starts on the defensive end of the floor, so our guys just have to stick with it.”

WEST BRANCH (59): Bellomy 1 0-0 2, Z. Tiracorda 5 0-0 10, D. Kolesar 2 0-0 6, K. Kolesar 2 0-0 4, I. Tiracorda 1 0-0 3, Rothrock 12 0-0 28, Carr 0 0-0 0, Croyle 0 0-0 0, Kopchik 2 0-0 6. Totals — 25 0-0 59.

WILLIAMSBURG (75): Dowey 3 1-2 9, Palmer 8 4-5 20, Hileman 7 0-0 15, McCall 1 1-2 3, Brantner 7 2-3 16, Clark 5 0-3 10, Weimert 0 0-0 0, Frew 1 0-0 2, Kagarise 0 0-0 0, Gorsuch 0 0-0 0. Totals — 32 8-17 75.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

West Branch 12 18 8 21 — 59

Williamsburg 14 22 19 20 — 75

3-point goals: West Branch 9 (Rothrock 4, Kopchik 2, D. Kolesar 2, I. Tiracorda); Williamsburg 3 (Dowey 2, Hileman).

Records: West Branch (8-6); Williamsburg (8-1).

Officials: Dave Adams, Mark Mitchell, Don Wagner

JV: Williamsburg, 74-52. High scorers–Isaac Tiracorda, WB, 20; Rowan Gorsuch, W, 25.

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