OXFORD — J.F. Webb men’s basketball head coach Alex Tharp considered Thursday’s game against Vance Charter to be one of the most complete and efficient of his brief tenure at the school so far.
Led by their one-two punch of junior Markeevis Latta and senior Javon Bullock, the Warriors took control of the game from the opening tip-off and improved to 3-1 on the season with a dominant 74-34 victory.
Tharp knew Vance Charter was going to present some challenges for his players, but was thrilled by how his players moved the ball down the court and kept their opponent disjointed all evening.
“Defensive effort is where it starts,” Tharp said. “We did a great job flying around and causing a lot of chaos. Vance Charter’s half-court sets are some of the best we’re going to see, so it was very important to get them out of their rhythm early and the boys did a great job.”
Tharp said Latta and Bullock have been instrumental in maximizing the potential of J.F. Webb’s roster.
Latta excelled at creating scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. He led the team in scoring with 22 point, and was also team leader in assists and steals with seven and eight, respectively.
Bullock, fresh off a 35-point performance against Louisburg on Tuesday, had a quieter evening but still dominated under the rim. He registered 15 points and eight boards.
With another stellar outing in the record book, Latta and Bullock are now averaging 26.7 and 23.3 points per game respectively for J.F. Webb, which Tharp said is going to be a difference-maker for the team as they prepare for the start of a tough in-conference schedule.
“That kind of production is very rare in high school,” Tharp said. “We have 14 guys that can play basketball, but having two that can just go out and get a bucket is really big for us. That’s a safety net for sure.”
While the Warriors celebrated another win in front of their home crowd, Vance Charter head coach Taron Downey was left disappointed that he and his team could not snatch a victory at the school he played basketball at from 1995 until 1999.
Downey said turnovers have been a problem for the Knights through their first three games, and going in knew that issue would need to be cleaned up to have a chance against J.F. Webb. It reasserted itself as the game progressed, but Downey was still proud of the effort his players displayed.
“When you get beat like that, you have to take away positive moments,” Downey said. “The guys fought hard, but we knew they were going to pressure us like Research Triangle did on Monday. We handled it a little better in the first half, but things got away from us in the second, so you have to take away positives and roll with the punches.”
Downey is confident that Vance Charter will bounce back from Thursday’s defeat as long as his players control the ball better and find ways to exploit opposing defenses.
For Tharp, the way the Warriors played even after Latta and Bullock were benched in the second half has him very optimistic about the rest of the year, adding that the talent on the team can produce Northern Lakes Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles.
“This is the most complete and hardest-working team I’ve ever had,” Tharp said. “We still have to clean up the small mistakes and get back on defense, along with the rest of the coaching cliches. I’m still loving every minute of this right now.”
Following a game with Bunn on Friday, J.F. Webb will return to action on Tuesday in a rematch with Oxford Prep at home. Vance Charter also played on Friday against Falls Lake and will kick off a busy week Monday by hosting Franklin Academy.
Contact Brandon White at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 252-436-2840