Warriors win CVAC title
The West Caldwell boys’ basketball team defeated East Burke 61-56 to claim the Catawba Valley 2A Athletic Conference (CVAC) tournament championship on Friday in Hickory.
“The kids went out and got it,” said West head coach Danny Anderson. “Coaches can jump, yell and scream, but the kids have to play. We had so many people do little things tonight. I’m proud of them.”
Both teams came out firing on all cylinders in the first quarter. Deshawn Patterson opened the scoring with a 3-pointer from the left wing to give West a quick 3-0 lead. Clay Byrd scored the first five points for East Burke with a layup to make the score 3-2 and a triple that tied the game at five.
After the teams exchanged baskets, Mekhi Dula converted a 3-point play for the Warriors. With the Cavaliers up 13-10, Kalice Steptoe and Chase hit back-to-back threes to put West up 16-13. Jacob Young scored two late baskets to give East Burke a 19-18 advantage after the first.
Both teams went cold in the second quarter. It took four minutes for either team to hit a shot from the field. Bowman finally ended the cold streak with his second three of the game to tie the game at 21. Mark Hood and TJ Hendrix each knocked down triples and Dula converted another 3-point play to give West a 30-23 lead at the half. The Warriors scored the final nine points of the quarter, while holding the Cavaliers to just four points in the quarter.
The second half was all about Dula and Byrd. Each player took over on the offensive side of the floor for their respective teams. The sharpshooter from East Burke hit two long threes as part of his 10 points in the third quarter. On
See CVAC/Page B2
the other end, Dula was a force in the post and scored five points in the quarter, including a dunk, to help West hang on to a 39-35 lead after three quarters.
The fourth quarter was more of the same. Dula and Byrd exchanged baskets, but two more triples cut the Warriors’ lead to 46-44. Patterson then drove down the lane and converted a layup. After a steal, Dula added the exclamation point with a slam-dunk to give West a 52-45 advantage.
Patterson and Steptoe combined to make nine free throws in the closing moments to help preserve the victory.
After scoring just six points in the first half, Dula finished the game with a team-high 19 points.
“In the first half they came out and doubled me so I just tried to get rebounds,” said Dula. “In the second I knew I had to take over. That was my mindset.”
Patterson added 15 points for the Warriors, while Steptoe finished with 10.
Byrd only scored five points in the first half, but managed to finish a game-high 29 points for East Burke, including five 3-pointers. Trever Hyatt added 14 in the loss.
The Cavaliers will be the top seed in the 2A state playoffs from the CVAC as they were the regular season champs. The Warriors will be the second seed and will likely host Newton-Conover on Monday.
West Caldwell 61, East Burke 56
West Caldwell 18-12-9-22 – 61
East Burke 19-4-12-21 – 56
WEST CALDWELL (61): Mekhi Dula 19, Deshawn Patterson 15, Kalice Steptoe 10, Chase Bowman 6, Ashton Smith 3, TJ Hendrix 3, Mark Hood 3, Ronnie Vasser-Jenkins 2, Alex Audrey 0, Tre Harper 0.
EAST BURKE (56): Clay Byrd 29, Trever Hyatt 14, Jacob Young 9, Elijah Reese 4, Larry Clark 0, Alex Kelly 0, Drake Haas 0.