Westmont showed its versatility in an 87-73 Golden State Athletic Conference men’s basketball win over the Oaks of Menlo on Saturday at Murchison Gym.
The fourth-ranked Warriors had to play much of the game without the services of two starters as Abram Carrasco struggled with foul trouble throughout the contest and was limited to 19 minutes of play and Cade Roth had to come out of the game with an injury less than eight minutes into the contest.
“I can’t say enough about our bench,” said head coach John Moore. “When Cade and Bram went down in the first half, guys like Noah Fernando and Gyse Hulsebosch, Tyler Austin and Tristan Lloyd gave us very good minutes.
“Jared Brown and Gyse had to play significantly more minutes. They had 18 and 14 points (respectively), making up for Bram’s scoring average.”
Brown also contributed four rebounds and four assists to the Warriors’ cause.
The Oaks got off to a strong start, outscoring the Warriors 16-7 in the first six and one-half minutes.
“From that point on, I thought we our team played stellar defense, led by our guards,” said Moore. “Jared and Gyse led the defensive attack.”
While the defense was talking hold, the offense was heating up. Westmont went on a 28-8 run to go ahead by 11 points (35-24) with 2:52 remaining in the opening frame. Brown tallied 12 points during that stretch, going five of six from the field.
Menlo responded in the final two and one-half minutes of the first half with a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to just three (37-34) at the intermission.
Hunter Sipe hit a three to start the second-half scoring as the Warriors built a 16-point cushion in the first seven and one-half minutes to go up 61-45.
Over the next three and one-half minutes, Menlo went on a 10-0 run to pull within six (61-55). However, the Warriors scored the next eight points (four by Carrasco and four by Justin Bessard) to give Westmont a 69-55 advantage. From that point on, the Warrior lead never fell below seven.
Justin Bessard led all scorers with 23 points. He also pulled down nine boards and had two blocks.
“Justin had one of his finer games,” touted Moore. “He had a couple of shot clock wind downs where he hit threes to give us an extra boost.”
Next week, the Warriors (23-2, 12-1 GSAC) will host Life Pacific (6-16, 2-10) on Tuesday evening and then travel to Vanguard on Saturday. Winning both games would clinch at least a share of the GSAC regular season championship.