By David Wheeler
Special to the Journal
SALTILLO – The Saltillo Tigers basketball team has had a little down time because of the holidays and weather.
Two whole weeks.
Shaking off some rust and a gritty West Union Eagles squad, the Tigers continued a nice start to their season with a 63-47 victory Tuesday night.
“We came out flat,” said head coach Craig Lauderdale, whose Tigers improved to 6-1. “We weren’t playing defense the way we were supposed to.”
Both teams had trouble finding the flow of the game in the first quarter, with Saltillo holding a 9-6 edge after the first eight minutes.
Javon Smith helped the Tigers a bit of rhythm in the second quarter, scoring 12 points in the period. With some early points in the quarter by Hunter Jennings, West Union held the lead twice early, but Saltillo responded and went into the intermission with a 28-23 margin.
Tigers on a tear
Then after Lauderdale’s halftime talk, the Tigers opened the third period on an 8-0 run with points by Ben Smith, Reggie Miller, and Jason Smith. That extra advantage on the scoreboard allowed the Tigers to dictate play the remainder of the half.
“When we run our offense, we’re a good basketball team,” Lauderdale said. “It’s early, and we don’t want to peak too soon.”
Javon Smith and Jason Smith each tallied 17 points for Saltillo, with Chase Cooper hitting 24 for West Union.
(G) Saltillo 44, West Union 40: The Lady Tigers withstood the Lady Eagles’ third-quarter surge to claim the win.
Saltillo (4-3) held a 22-16 halftime lead, only to see West Union (6-4) claim the lead twice, the second time on a Gracen Conlee 3-pointer at 29-26. A 3-pointer by Mary Moore pushed Saltillo back up 31-29, and the Lady Tigers were able to hold on the rest of the way.
Jumaya Coggins hit 20 to lead Saltillo, while Julianna Garner hit 15 for West Union.