High school basketball notes for December 10: West Meck boys hoops warming up

by Aaron Garcia

The West Mecklenburg High School boys basketball team has a big week coming up, as it plays Vance on Friday, Dec. 10, and Berry on Wednesday, Dec. 15, before opening MEGA 7 3A/4A conference play against Waddell on Friday, Dec. 17.

Considering all three teams are listed in Carolina Weekly’s Super 10 boys basketball rankings, West Meck coach Donald Kirby’s team has its work cut out for it.
And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s a tremendous week,” said Kirby, whose team is ranked fourth in the Super 10.

The Hawks are currently 3-1 and starting to resemble a serious contender to travel deep into the Class 4A state playoffs. But Kirby said the focus has been more on team development than getting victories, especially with three new starters joining all-conference players Terrance Williams and Jerrod Wallace.

But Kirby has seen some good signs so far this year, especially in the team’s Nov. 22 season opener against West Charlotte. Though the Hawks lost the game, 72-59, Kirby liked his team’s effort, especially considering many of his players were new to the varsity stage.

“For a group of guys who were just learning, for a bunch of guys who it was their first time on varsity, I realized we’re very mentally tough,” Kirby said. “We were up by one (point) at the half and gave up a little run in the third quarter. We were so new, we only had our man-to-man defensive package in. So to hang with (West Charlotte) and almost pull out a win, that told me a lot about our guys.”

As tough as the going will be for the Hawks, Kirby said he expects the team to continue to work out some kinks before opening conference play against Waddell next week. Now, it’s down to the little things, such as changing defenses and running a smoother offense. If the Hawks don’t do that, Waddell is a team that can make them pay.

“That’s going to be fun,” Kirby said. “We love conference play, especially in our conference. Every night is a dog fight. That’s why we schedule the non-conference schedule that we
do.”

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