BELOIT - The West Branch varsity roster boasts seven seniors, with the only non-senior listed being sophomore Kip DeShields. After Friday, the Warriors might have to expand the list.
West Branch used their experience coupled with a strong bench to cruise to an 85-35 victory over United.
"I think we wore them down," West Branch head coach Lou Sellaroli said following his first win as Warriors head coach since his previous stint from 1998-2003.
"We are trying to get up and down the floor a little bit more, and we are trying to press a little bit more they made us look sloppy at times, but I think we went on a run in the third quarter."
The Warriors lead hovered around 25 for much of the game, but they led by as many as 56 late in the fourth.
West Branch came out running from the opening tip, taking a 15-point lead after four and a half minutes with a 17-2 run to start the game. Jacob Griffith paced the Warriors through that run with seven of the team's points.
UNITED: 7 12 8 8 - 35
WEST BRANCH: 24 19 25 17 - 85
UNITED SCORING: Paul Faulkner 2-1-5, Brandon Miller 4-2-10, Garret Beech 2-0-4, Sam Henderson 0-0-0, Matt Blake 0-0-0, Andrew Martin 1-1-3, Ben Sell 0-0-0, Jared Powell 1-0-2, Devin Minrod 0-0-0, Caleb Conser 4-0-8, Brandon Davidson 1-3-5. TEAM TOTALS: 15, 9-22, 35.
WEST BRANCH SCORING: Lucas Austin 1-0-2, Beau Taylor 4-3-14, Jerian Thomas 2-0-5, Kolton Kitzmiller 0-0-0, Troy James 5-3-13, Jake Evanoff 0-0-0, Drake Lohnes 2-2-6, Mark Schwingle 1-0-2, Dustin Grenawalt 3-0-6, Kip DeShields 5-3-13, Zack Mucklo 3-0-6, Matt Meiter 4-1-10, Jacob Griffith 4-1-9. TEAM TOTALS: 34, 13-20, 85.
THREE POINTERS: West Branch 5 (Taylor 3, Thomas 1, Meiter 1).
The Warriors led by as many as 19 points in the opening frame, much of that coming off of the fast break.
"We have a lot of depth, and we are going to try to use it," Sellaroli said. "That's why we were going to press so we can maximize that."
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Beau Taylor pushed the Warriors lead to 25 just inside the seven minute mark of the second quarter.
With the Warriors size and speed, they were able to take advantage of the smaller and less experienced Golden Eagles.
"We did a poor job of rebounding," United head coach Matt Mowery said. "We don't have much size. When you don't rebound and you give up second, third, fourth opportunities, you're in a situation where it kills you.".
West Branch took a 43-19 lead into the half.
The second half was more of the same.
West Branch continued to press and it forced the Golden Eagles into numerous turnovers.
"With a young team like that, and constant pressure, we were getting lackadaisical with the ball, and against a team like that you can't do that," Mowery said. "A lot of their points were transition points and easy points. Once we had the ball stopped in the half court it wasn't too bad, but we gave up a lot of lay-ups and a lot of it in transition. We tried to address that in practice but it just didn't go to plan."
Everyone but two West Branch players who dressed scored. Four Warriors finished in double figures including two off the bench.
Beau Taylor led all scorers with 14 points. Troy James and Kip DeShields tallied 13 each and sophomore Matt Meiter scored 10 off the bench.
Brandon Miller led United with 10 points. Paul Faulkner and Braden Davison each added five.
"I was real pleased with how well we played," Sellaroli said. "I saw some things we have to work on, but I like the intensity I thought we played well together pulled for one another and did some nice things."
"We knew it was going to be fast paced," Mowery said. "It was one of those things where we just weren't good handling the basketball. The kids played hard, that's one thing, they didn't give up. But at the same time we're still going through growing pains."
West Branch (1-0) hosts Southeast Tuesday.
United (0-1) plays tonight at Beaver Local.