Cousins Zane West and Jordan West team up for senior season.
It took awhile for it to come about, but Zane West will end his high school basketball career with his cousin, Jordan West.
Zane West convinced his mother to move back to Van Buren from Oklahoma City, and they completed the move late last summer for his senior year.
“It’s great,” Zane West said. “I moved back to play with him. I begged and I begged, and finally she said she’d let me move back my senior year. She wasn’t happy about it. She cried, but she let me come back. I was happy.”
Jordan West, also a senior, moved to Van Buren from Southside after his sophomore year.
“It’s like playing with my brother who I grew up with,” Jordan West said. “We did grow up together, and we know what the other one is going to do.”
They were instrumental in Friday’s 65-52 win over Springdale with Jordan West scoring 13 of his team-high 20 points in the third and fourth quarters.
After Springdale took a 32-31 lead with 3:21 left in the third quarter, Jordan West knocked down a 3-pointer to start a 16-2 run. He also had two knifing drives inside for buckets to push Van Buren’s lead to 41-32.
“I grabbed Jordan and told him ‘go be who you are, you’re easily one of the best players in the league, you’ve got to step up and get aggressive and attack’ and he made some big buckets in that stretch,” Van Buren head coach Austin Trembley said. “Jordan led us in scoring, and in that stretch made some big plays.”
Zane West has taken over the point guard duties and was responsible for breaking the relentless full-court pressure applied by Springdale in the fourth quarter.
“The way they were playing us, they were trying to pressure full court and try to get our spacing,” Trembley said. “We told Zane if they do that, just drive it and go all the way to the rim. His quickness and ball handling allows us to do that that. His confidence is growing. He’s gotten real good at that.”
Zane West scored seven of his 10 points in the fourth quarter, all from the free-throw line in the final three minutes.
The West cousins, along with senior Gavin Ball, junior K.J. Stewart and sophomore Brayden Gilmore, Van Buren’s five starters, had the rarity of all scoring in double-digits.
“Everybody is more confident now,” Zane West said. “We’re like brothers now. We do whatever’s best for the team. Nobody really cares who scores.”
With a starter and the sixth player out of the lineup for the second straight game on Friday night, the Pointers needed that balanced production.
“I’d be nice to have five guys in double digits like we did the other night,” Trembley said. “That would be the way to go.”
Some extra responsibilities were heaped upon all of the Pointers.
“Yes, they need to step up, but they don’t need to get outside of their character,” Trembleys said. “They did a good job of that.”
Jordan West ranks sixth in the 7A-West in scoring at 16.9 points per game with a high of 28 against Fayetteville. He sees his role as more than a scorer, though.
“I have been, but even if I’m not I try to do other things like playing defense or having assists or anything,” Jordan West said. “Being a senior leader, not necessarily scoring but controlling my emotions on the floor and hyping up my other guys just like they do me.”
Like during a timeout against Springdale, when coach Trembley looked at Jordan West. He knew what he needed to do.
“I did, Coach Trembley let me know that I needed to do something at that point,” Jordan West said. “He’s got a lot of confidence in me. He lets me know, and I do it. He gives me all of the support in the world, and my teammates, and that means a lot.”
Zane West had five assists on Friday night, and that game was a perfect example of what his driving and passing ability can provide like his first quarter drive and dish to K.J. Stewart for a slam, or a fast-break pass to Jordan West for a second-quarter basket, or a drive and dish to Jordan West for a wide-open 3-pointer also in the second quarter.
“I like facilitating,” Zane West said. “I like making my teammates happy. When they’re happy, we all do good. We feed off each other.”
More important than their playing ability is their attitude.
“They’re both good guys,” Trembley said. “They obviously have good athleticism and can score and make plays, but everything is they’re ‘yes sir, no sir’. They’re super coachable. They really are. They’re good players, but they’re even better teammates.”