MT. CARMEL - It wasn’t that points were coming too easily for Wabash Valley College in the men’s non-conference basketball game with West Kentucky Community and Technical College Tuesday at Spencer Sports Center.
WVC coach Mike Carpenter said it was more like “fool’s gold,” the shots his Warriors were knocking down early in racing out to a 15-5 lead. The fast start and finish to their 103-83 victory belied the middle portion of the game, where the Stars drifted in and out of contention, never going away.
West Kentucky (2-3) was as close as nine points at one point in the second half, not totally succumbing until WVC starting guard Eric Hopkins led a late pullaway to the 20-point final margin. Hopkins was at his best beyond the arc, finishing 6-of-7 from the 3-point line and leading Wabash Valley (2-0) with 28 points.
Carpenter was left impressed “with how Eric played” in his starting role. Though not as pleased with the 83 points the Stars scored against his team, the second-year WVC coach knew that WK would be a formidable opponent in a game “where we would be tested.”
The Warriors began the game with three 3-pointers and a slam, and fans settled in for a quick night. But it wouldn’t be as easy as West Kentucky outscored the Warriors 10-2 to open the second half to get within 57-48.
Jaquan Lynch, a sophomore returnee, did not start for the Warriors, but played well off the bench, finishing with 21 points. Brian Wilson added 20 points and Mike Donaldson 14. For Wilson, it was a double-double, adding 10 rebounds to his game totals.
West Kentucky had a double of its own, getting 12 points and 12 boards from 6-foot-4 sophomore leader Jermaine Lee, who like the rest of the Stars, eventually got into a rhythm once the opening Warrior onslaught was complete. Ben Dordoye led the visitors with 15 points.
Paducah-based West Kentucky is a two-year school, formed in 2003 by the merging of Paducah Community College and West Kentucky Technical College. The school is not listed as a member of the NJCAA, and the Stars play a schedule comprised of junior college and small four-year school opponents. WK’s website lists the enrollment at approximately 7,000 students.
WVC is idle for the next 11 days before playing its first game on the road Nov. 15 at Elizabethtown, Ky.
Lady Warrior game
In a battle of nationally-ranked teams in the evening’s opener, State Fair, Mo. used uncanny free throw marksmanship to shoot Wabash Valley from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 71-67 non-conference win.
The 23rd-ranked Roadrunners were 27-of-30 from the free throw line, the result of foul difficulty on the part of 19th-rated Wabash Valley (2-1), which lost 6-foot-4 freshman Olivia Hunt while ex-Castle frosh teammate Aubrey Carter finished with four fouls.
State Fair’s largest lead was 33-22. Wabash Valley got as close as one point in the second half but poor shooting (25-of-60 for 41.7 percent) kept the hosts from getting over the hump. Granted, State Farm fared worse from the field, hitting 29 percent on 21-of-72 shooting, but the free points at the line made the difference.
Tyshee Towner paced the Lady Warriors with 28 points. Fellow sophomore returnee Ellie Fruit finished with 19. State Fair was led by Sannayyiah Johnson’s 21 points. Aleccia Cooley added 18.
The WVC women play in the Three Rivers, Mo. Classic Friday and Saturday.