Davenport West basketball player Jamil Haymond figured he owed something to his teammates.
After being suspended for the first half of Friday night's Mississippi Athletic Conference home game with Muscatine, Haymond came out and played like a man on fire.
In barely 10 minutes of playing time in the second half, Haymond racked up 18 points, five rebounds and four steals to help lead the Falcons to an eventual 55-37 victory.
Haymond teamed up with senior running mate Malik Westerfield to disrupt and harass the Muskies with steals and ball pressure at the top of West's defense. The duo each had a pair of steals as the Falcons (3-6 overall, 2-5 MAC) hit the Muskies with a quick 8-0 spurt on run-outs and layups to take command of a game that was just 23-17 at halftime.
Haymond scored six of West's first eight points in third quarter and eventually finished with 10 points in the third quarter. His coast-to-coast layup with four seconds left in the third left the Falcons in complete command with a 45-23 advantage going into the fourth quarter. He finished the game hitting eight of his nine field-goal attempts.
Falcons coach David Robinson took Haymond out of the game along with the rest of his regulars with 3 minutes, 38 seconds left in the contest and West up comfortably. Haymond said he did not need much motivation to come out with aggressiveness on both ends of the floor to start the second half.
"I had to make it up to my team," Haymond said of his strong play. "I had to let them know I took responsibility for my actions and how much I cared about the team."
Robinson said Haymond was suspended for a team violation and added it was an important lesson for Haymond and the rest of the group.
"We do things in life, and we have to learn from stuff," Robinson said. "But you have to keep going, and that is the best thing we can do. Everybody understands that this is not an individual thing and everybody is held accountable. Jamil came out and did what needed to be done."
Robinson said he was proud of the guys who stepped in during Haymond's absence. That group included NaZion Caruthers, Logan Petersen and Quenton Dempsey. Caruthers had five points and four rebounds in the contest while Petersen and Dempsey had some nice assists and played solid defense in their time on the court.
"Guys played hard for two or three minutes, did the best they could and then someone else would come in. They had great energy on the bench. It was a great team win for us," Robinson said.
Early on Muscatine seemed to weather West's relentless defense and led 11-10 after the first quarter. But Westerfield came in and popped in eight points in the second quarter, including two 3-pointers, to help the hosts eventually gain the halftime lead. Westerfield finished the game with 15 points and three steals of his own. Zach Trevino added nine points for the winners.
But Muscatine seemed to wilt under Haymond and the rest of the Falcons' attacking style. Muscatine had 11 turnovers in the second half and missed its first seven shots of the third quarter while West was pulling away. Josh Dieckman had 11 points and Nate Diercks chipped in 10 points for the Muskies (0-10, 0-7).
"In the first half, we attacked the rim and got some fast breaks off our steals. Those were the good things," Muscatine coach John Windham said. "But when teams put the pressure on us, we don't know how to react. We work on it every day in practice but we become deer-in-the-headlights and hope the guy that is trapped does something with the ball."