BROADLANDS -- High school basketball coaches have an option not available to their counterparts at the collegiate level.
They can teach an offense that is centered on quick passes and continued ball movement until a high percentage shot becomes available. At the college level, there's always the threat of the shot clock going off if teams take too much time running their offense.
Westville's Tigers showed discipline and patience on Friday, putting together a complete game on the offensive end to turn back Heritage 52-45 on Lyle Loman Court.
Except for what Tigers coach Jeff Millis called "a couple of exceptions," the execution of the smooth-running offense "the entire game was good," he said.
Westville (2-2) attempted just 15 second-half shots as they stayed disciplined and repeatedly worked the ball. Until the final 1:01, the Tigers had shot only one free throw.
In the last 61 seconds, Jacob Gooch, Andy Sutliff, Dustin Billings and Matt Maser all hit 2 of 2 free throw attempts to help their team secure the victory.
At practice on Thursday, the Tigers devoted their final 15 minutes of the workout to free throw shooting. Millis said assistant coach Allen Greenlee observed, "we don't have bad free throw shooters." Against the Hawks, Millis added, "that showed."
Some folks like the run-and-gun style of basketball where shots go off every few seconds. For me, it's a treat to see a team -- especially a high school one -- play together so well and create opportunities for each other. Maser finished with eight assists and Gooch handed out six.
The Tigers have players -- notably Billings, Hathaway and Maser -- who can take the ball to the basket and they're accurate on their shots. The team made 21 of 39 field goal attempts against Heritage.
Although Heritage never led after scoring the game's first two points, they showed their resiliency by hanging tough against an opponent which makes the defense work for long periods of time. With 3:12 remaining, Westville's lead was one point.
Jace Corray is Heritage's lone senior and the Hawks appear to be a team which will improve as the season progresses.
"We have to learn to get tougher, block out better and pressure the ball," Heritage coach Andy Place said. "They beat us off the dribble and got too many offensive rebounds."
Hathaway collected three of the offensive boards and earned praise from his coach.
"Chris stepped up and fundamentlly took the ball to the basket very well," Millis said.