A rough start turned into a long night for the Lehman Lobos as they fell to 4-5 in district play following a 81-53 loss to the Westlake Chaparrals at The Lobo Den Tuesday.
“Learn from this game, they are a great team, great program,” said Lehman head coach Steve Pinchback. “We are going to keep competing, 1-0 mentality. It doesn’t stop. We don’t get discouraged, we are just going to keep playing. They do that to a lot of people, so it is what it is.”
In the blink of an eye Westlake jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter, and they didn’t let up as they rained three-pointers and dominated the boards to take a 45-22 lead into halftime.
A key stat for the game was Westlake’s control of the boards throughout all four quarters. The Chaparrals out-rebounded the Lobos 18-3 in the first half of play, and 42-19 for the game.
“It’s tough. Our tallest guy is six-two (6’2”), six-three (6’3”), and they got some monsters,” Pinchback said. “You just got to put a body on them and do the best that you can. We need to use this as a learning tool, that’s all you can do.”
While the Lobo defense struggled to stop Westlake’s high scoring offense, Lehman’s offense limited turnovers, as well as scored 16 more total points than in their first meeting against Westlake.
Junior small forward Jarek Salinas led the Lobos with 21 points, including five three-pointers. Senior point guard Cameron Jones also contributed 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals, while junior guard Oscar Montalvo had 10 points and two rebounds.
“Jarek has been one of my most solid guys,” said Pinchback. “This year he has come out with a vengeance. He’s averaging double digits, so I just want to give him confidence. If a kid’s hitting, we are going to try and get him the rock. His thing is he’s playing with confidence, and that’s the biggest thing I wanted out of him.”
Despite the loss, Lehman is in the hunt for the fourth and final playoff spot with only four games remaining.
The Lobos are a game behind Del Valle for fourth place and are a game ahead of Austin and Hays. Lehman holds a head-to-head tie-breaker with Del Valle and Austin, but suffered an early-season loss to Hays.
With only a few games left, Pinchback said he has confidence in his squad.
“Fight, fight, we are going to fight,” Pinchback said. “Everyday we come in here we look at those banners up there and I tell them that you got to put your team up there. What are you going to do to get your name up there. What are you going to do about it. We want to be the best team to come out of Lehman, so hard work is all you can do. If you don’t work, you don’t eat.”
Lehman travels to play state-ranked Lake Travis Friday. The Lobos return home Jan. 22 for a key district tilt against Del Valle.