Finding an offensive flow in the midst of a defensive tussle was next to impossible Friday night for the boys basketball teams from Davenport West and Davenport Assumption.
The Falcons did find a way to win, holding off the Knights 47-39 to earn a hard-fought Mississippi Athletic Conference victory at West.
"Nothing came easy. It was one of those nights," West senior Kenny Clay said. "It was tough to get anything going, but we got the ‘W.’ We showed some poise through the struggles and that made a difference."
So did the Falcons’ defense.
West limited Assumption to four points and 1-of-12 shooting in the third quarter, turning a 22-20 halftime lead into a 33-24 advantage.
"The effort and energy we brought on defense in the third quarter was the difference," Falcons coach Mark Bigler said. "We switched a couple of match-ups at the half, but mostly I felt it was better effort and better rebounding in that quarter that gave us some separation."
The Knights didn’t go away, cutting the Falcons’ lead to 38-35 on a steal and a lay-in by Trent Fitzpatrick with 3 minutes, 41 seconds remaining in the game.
Brett Erwin answered on the ensuing possession, and despite a 6-of-15 touch at the line in the fourth quarter, West was able to inch its way one-of-two free throws at a time to a lead that reached 43-35 when Trey Sampson hit the second of two chances with 2:24 to play.
"We persevered and found a way to win an ugly game, but sometimes that’s the way this game works," Bigler said.
While West struggled at the line, Assumption struggled from the field.
The Knights shot 33.3 percent for the game, connecting on 13 of its 39 field goal tries, and never found the energy that helped Assumption hand North Scott its first league loss on Tuesday.
"The effort was there. The guys competed hard, but we used up a lot of energy the other night, and for a lot of this game I thought we looked spent," Knights coach Matt Fitzpatrick said. "The shots, they weren’t falling."
Trying to work through a tough shooting effort of their own, the Falcons found a spark in sophomore Zach Trevino.
Seeing his first extensive varsity minutes, Trevino hit a pair of 3-point baskets in the first half and followed a 3 by Bailey Garnica with a field goal that helped West open a 29-20 lead midway through the third quarter.
"There were some nerves before the game. The coaches told me to relax, but once (Clay) found me and I was able to hit that first one, I felt comfortable and just played," Trevino said. "I was there to help us win, and I tried to do my part against a good Assumption team."
Trevino finished with nine points, a number topped only by Clay’s 12-point effort for the Falcons (11-4, 7-4 MAC).
Dylan Peeters led Assumption (7-8, 6-6) with 14 points, including a 3-pointer the cut the West lead to 45-39 with 1:04 to play, but the Falcons hit 2-of-4 free throws in the final minute to secure the win.