West’s men’s basketball team came out on top over North Buncombe in an overtime thriller on Monday, Dec. 17, with the student section supporting them during their annual Silent Night.

“It was difficult to stay quiet, but once the tenth point was scored, it was bonkers,” junior AJ Schaffer said. “Everybody went crazy. Definitely a fun atmosphere.”

At the end of the first half, the score was 34-33 with the Falcons on top. Many Falcons stood out. Senior Cameron Kanetzke had 11 rebounds, senior Kyle Porter had 11 points and nine rebounds in his first game back from a hand injury, junior Josh Lyda had 15 points and junior Ben Bryson had 24 points and also broke the school record for most assists in a career. But senior Jacob Burnette stood out with 24 points, a career record for the senior.

Burnette has been on varsity since he was a freshman, and said this win meant a lot to him.

“I really wanted to win for Coach (Joey Bryson),” Burnette said. “He came from North Buncombe, and everybody hates North Buncombe.”

It was not hard to notice Burnette’s leadership on the floor, especially after junior Ben Bryson fouled out midway through the fourth quarter. The team rallied around the captain and were able to pull out a big time conference win.

“(Burnette) wants to win. He’s really passionate about winning. Last night we definitely saw how competitive he is,” Bryson said. “I think he knew that with Ben (Bryson) fouling out, he would have to shoulder some of the burden, and he did.”

The buzzer sounded at the end of regulation with the game tied 69-69 after North Buncombe’s Dalton Whitt nailed a timely three to tie the game. The Falcons took the early lead in overtime and were able to maintain it, coming out on top.

“The best part of the game was hearing the buzzer sound and looking up and seeing that we’d won,” Burnette said.

Coach Joey Bryson agreed with his players, citing the atmosphere of the crowd as one of the reasons the game went well.

“It was pretty exciting,” Bryson said. “It was close the whole time. It went into overtime, the crowd was awesome, and the student section was supporting us the whole time, which made it a lot of fun.”

The Falcons are 4-2 (1-0) on the season. Their next game is Tuesday, Dec. 18 against conference rivals T.C. Roberson.

By: Wyatt Hughes, Sports Editor

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