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West Side Christian’s boys hosted, probably, the best opponent they will see this season Monday. NELA Christian Homeschool invaded the Warrior Center and flexed, pulling away to a 68-52 victory.

The Warriors fell to 13-5 with their second loss to the Flame, which ran its record to 23-2.

The Flame, which plays out of Monroe, La., led from start to finish, scoring the first seven points of the game before building leads of 15-6 after one quarter, 36-19 at the half and 49-32 going into the fourth.

“I didn’t feel like we came out really focused,” said West Side coach Randall Miller. “There were some things we were trying to do defensively that we did not do well, at all. And, we worked on it today in shoot-around so I’m disappointed we didn’t do a better job.

“Offensively, we let their wide zone get to us a little bit and we did not get the ball reversed the way we wanted. It showed in our shooting. I thought we were really casual early with the ball, with our passes and our decisions. We were too careless. They’re a very good basketball team. I don’t know what they shot from the field, but it had to be over 50 percent from behind the line. When we let ‘em loose, they burned us pretty good.”

The Flame painted a no passing zone defensively, intercepting passes to the wings and disrupting the Warriors’ offense. The turnovers led the points – lay-ups and fast break 3-pointers.

Carson Taylor led the Flame with 22 points while Austin Taylor added 14 while Jacob Carlton and Britton Ponthieux each scored 12.

Stephfan Tabe scored 39 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Warriors, who whittled the deficit to 51-42 with 5:33 remaining after a 10-2 run in the fourth quarter.

But Carlton hit a 3-pointer for the Flame, which maintained a double-digit cushion the rest of the way.

Miller said the Flame was the best team the Warriors have played this season. He hopes the competition will be a positive for his team.

“It depends on how we respond to it,” he said. “I feel like we played them better the first time we played them. That’s kind of curious. I just don’t feel like we played well at all. We had a tough, hard-nosed win at Glenbrook on Thursday. I felt like we were really going to play well tonight and we didn’t. That’s on me. I’ve got to figure that out and see why we didn’t.”

The Lady Warriors improved to 8-6 with a 42-21 win in the varsity girls’ game. West Side led 25-7 at the half and 39-14 going into the fourth, which finished with a running clock.

“I thought defensively, we were pretty active. We were in passing lanes,” said Miller. “We did a good job of anticipating passes better than we have been. That’s where a lot of our offense came from early, steals and lay-ups.”

Brooklin Pitard paced the Lady Warriors with 18 points while Rylee Scriber added 14.

West Side travels to Columbia Christian in Magnolia on Friday.

“We’ve got a couple days to get right before we go over to Columbia,” said Miller. “That’s always a big game in that gym. Girls and boys, both, we need a couple good days of practice to make sure we’re sharp.”

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