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By Loren Kopff
Jim Webster is in his 11th season as head coach for the Norwalk boys basketball team but probably had not seen what he witnessed in the first half of last Thursday’s home game with Downey too many times. In a display that he called ‘completely embarrassing’, the Lancers scored only six points in the first half and saw the visiting Vikings go on a 23-0 run.
The good news was Norwalk scored 43 points in the second half but the damage was already done as Downey easily earned a 66-49 victory. The loss snapped a brief two-game winning streak as Norwalk (6-5) opened up pool play action this past Wednesday in the Whittier Christian Tournament.
“We haven’t practiced very hard the last week,” Webster said. “We played pretty well on Tuesday [against Pioneer]. We responded; we had a little energy for our first home game but today it was completely dead. We’re not a team right now. That’s probably my biggest concern.”
Downey scored the first seven points of the game before senior Ralph Wormley put the Lancers on the board with 3:13 left in the first quarter. Norwalk then went 9:18 before its next basket, again by Wormley. During the scoring drought, the Lancers missed 10 shots from the field. In fact, Wormley scored all six points in the first half.
The Downey lead grew to 31 points six seconds into the second half before the hosts responded and went on a 24-12 run to trail by 19 points. During that run, junior Rashaad Penny scored six points including going coast to coast after one of his team-high seven rebounds. Senior Michael Rocha added eight points with a pair of three-pointers as the Lancers connected on nine of 16 field goals in the stanza.
Senior David Alvarez began the fourth quarter with back to back three-pointers but the Vikings continued to lead by 20 with 5:16 remaining in the game. Wormley led Norwalk with a dozen points, grabbed six rebounds and had two steals while Penny added 10 points and also had two steals. It was the third time in the last four games and sixth time this season that Norwalk has scored 50 points or less. But the Lancers have already matched their victory total of last season.
“Record-wise, I would take 6-5 at this point if you were to offer it to me,” Webster said. “But just our up and down nature, our inconsistency, our mental state is just baffling. I don’t know what to expect from game to game.”
Norwalk played Whittier Christian this past Wednesday, Ontario on Dec. 27 and Animo South today in the Whittier Christian Tournament. Webster said he would be happy with going 2-2 in the tournament and it looks possible. Going 3-1, though, would be a shot in the dark he added. The Lancers will open Suburban League action on Wednesday at home against Cerritos.
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