The DeKalb West School Bulldogs took first place at the annual Best of the West tournament while the Lady Bulldogs captured a third place finish.
Under the direction of Coach Kelly Pyburn, the boys’ team beat New Middleton in the first round, Short Mountain in the second round and then Tuckers Crossroads to take the top spot.
“We did okay,” Pyburn said modestly. “We looked a little lost on defense, but they picked it up and they hustled. Hustling made up for them not knowing where they were supposed to be. We did a good job scoring. I saw some good things from people and saw some things that we need to work on.”
Brayden Antoniak, Lucas Hale, and Levi Driver were named to the All-Tournament team.
“The team is working hard,” Pyburn said. “We are going to have to play smart basketball this year. We are very small compared to other teams. They are a really smart group, so if we use our head and play smart basketball we should be able to stay in the game. We do have several players that have a few years under their belts! We return two starters, and most of the others have gotten quite a bit of playing time in the previous years.”
The DWS boys lost six 8th grade players last year (Two of them—Cody Antoniak and Dallas Cook—are on the high school team). “Their leadership and height will really be missed. It is hard to compare the teams because this year’s team is much younger and shorter.”
For the Lady Bulldogs, Gracie Griffin, Summer Crook, and Lydia Davenport were selected for the All-Tournament team. The girls’ team beat New Middleton, Gordonsville, and Short Mountain.
“They did well,” said Lady Bulldogs Coach Cindy Pulley. “There was one game that we played really close competition, and the girls pulled it out. They were able to play smart. I saw lots of good things, but still lots of things we can improve on.”
Losing only one player from 8th grade last year, the girls’ team brings more experience into this season.
“Several of the girls have played now since they were in 6th grade,” adds Pulley. “I have very few girls who have never played before, so they do bring several years of experience. Several of the younger girls are real scrappy. They can be tough when they choose to be.”
“We’re still playing a little inconsistent. Some days we perform really well and then, other days--- not so much. One night we were 100% from the free throw line. The very next day we were 28% from the free throw line.”
Sean Antoniak is the Assistant Coach for both teams for the first year.
“He has done a lot for the program already,” says Pulley. “He did some open gyms over fall break for us, giving the girls and boys opportunities to come in and practice. He’s already brought a lot to the program, and he brings a lot of knowledge and physical ability himself to the program.”
DWS is playing in the Forks River Tournament this week. Both teams will tip off the regular season with a game at home against Woodbury on Nov. 8.