‘It didn’t work out,’ Bears season ends in district tournament

Published 10:30 pm Monday, February 6, 2023

WEST LINCOLN — Amite County had just a five point lead over West Lincoln with 1:40 left in a district tournament game. Coming out of a timeout, there was still a chance for the Bears to win but things went south when the Trojans forced a few turnovers and capitalized on them. They also knocked down free throws to hang on to a 41-32 win Monday night. 

The loss knocked West Lincoln out of the tournament and ended the Bears season. Senior Javarius Lewis hugged a parent and a coach as his season came to an end. He never had a chance to play after suffering a knee injury at the start of the year but often supported the team from the bench. 

Lewis’ senior teammate Tristin Rollins finished the game with 15 points and worked hard to create scoring opportunities for his teammates. At the final whistle, he walked over to the scorers table fighting back tears. 

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“I had to give it all I could tonight. I have played basketball here for six years,” Rollins said. “I played basketball all the time when I was little. I tried out in junior high and I have played basketball ever since. I just enjoy everything. The people, the fans and my teammates.” 

At halftime, West Lincoln trailed by five points 22-17. They came out in the second half and opened the third quarter with a brilliant effort and erased the deficit. The third quarter was West Lincoln’s best scoring quarter with 11 points. 

Baylor Sills closed out the quarter with a buzzer beater jump shot which gave the Bears a 30-28 lead going into the final frame. It looked like their season could carry on as the quarter went on until the final minute and a half. 

“We had a lot of confidence after three quarters. We knew we had to keep playing hard,” Rollins said. “It didn’t work out in our favor. We have grown a lot since the start of the season. We started out rough and lost two players to injury and one transferred. We got closer together and I think tonight we played really well.” 

Head Coach Jay Case called a timeout with 12 seconds left and the Bears had a nine point deficit. It was not a certain loss at that point but the odds were stacked against West Lincoln. Rollins said Case asked the team to try and get the ball back and get a quick score. A drawn foul could have helped them. 

Amite County was able to inbound the pass and Case asked his guys to just guard the Trojans as the clock ran out. Rollins did not have the words to explain what he will miss about West Lincoln basketball but how could a player pick one thing to miss after six years with a program. 

West Lincoln’s end to the basketball season is not the end of Rollin’s story. It is just the closing of a chapter. 

“I have tennis left here. I plan to go to Hinds after graduation for drafting and design and I will find a job after that,” Rollins said. “My family owns a construction company. We build metal buildings and we design them. I want to keep the business going.”