WEST RUTLAND — This was an inside job. West Rutland showed its athleticism and tenacity around the rim in cruising to a 57-32 victory over Mill River in boys basketball action Monday night.
Patrick Smith connected on a 3-point field goal for the Golden Horde and those were their only points all night for Westside that did not come as the result of being in the paint.
It was the third straight win for the 3-1 Horde.
“It’s something we can do,” Westside senior Tyler Serrani said of that bruising inside game. “We have nine seniors and a junior and we know how to play physical at the varsity level.”
It is an ingredient first-year Mill River coach Ben Smith would love to cultivate in his team.
“We didn’t have any presence in the paint,” Smith said.
It was evident from the opening tip that the Horde was going to be looking to either thread the pass inside or drive the ball hard to the rim.
Noah Davis cut down the lane, took a pass in stride and converted the layup for the game’s first points.
Then, Levi Petit scored on an athletic dipsy-doodle drive to make it 4-0 and it was already clear what the game plan was.
The Horde stretched the lead to 16-7 by the end of the opening quarter and took a 29-19 lead into the half.
Tyler Serrani rolled up his sleeves and went to work in the third quarter. He scored 10 of his 18 points in that stanza.
The game was as good as in the books by that point, the Golden Horde taking a 47-21 lead into the final quarter.
Serrani led the Horde and Petit followed closely with 16 points. Tim Blanchard and Michael Goodnough added six apiece.
Johnny Verdon supplied most of the offense for the Minutemen with 18 points. After that it fell off to Ryan Smith with four.
The Minutemen fell to 0-4.
“We have got a lot of athleticism and we can move the ball,” Westside coach Jordan Tolar said.
“Unselfish basketball is fun to watch. We did a great job of looking for each other.”
Despite the 3-1 start, Tolar felt his team has let up in games so he was pleased with the effort in this one.
“This was the closest we have come to (playing) 32 minutes,” he said.
This veteran West Rutland team has been pointing to this year.
“This is the season we have been thinking about since we were freshmen, some of us eighth graders,” Serrani said. “We want a championship. That’s where our heads are at.”
Serrani loves the new-look schedule that has the Horde playing new nearby teams like Mill River.
“It is so much fun to be able to play these teams,” he said.