By Ken Lay

A stifling defense helped West Valley Middle School’s boys basketball team earn an early-season Knox County Middle School Basketball Conference victory over rival Cedar Bluff Thursday night.
“This was really an ugly game to watch,” Wolves first-year head coach Noel Landrin said after his team’s 33-7 league victory over the Giants at West Valley. “The good thing is that everybody got in and got a chance to play.”
The Wolves, who are the defending James A. Ivey Jr. Memorial Middle School Tournament Champions, featured a stingy defense as they allowed the visitors to score just one point in the first half. That came on a free throw from Jeremiah McMahan.
“At this point our defense is really ahead of our offense,” said Landrin, who inherited the West Valley program from Chuck Comer after last year’s title. “Our defense is our trademark right now.
“I think you kind of expect the defense to be ahead of the offense at this point of the season. It’s early. But in our case, our defense is way ahead of our offense. I guess I’d rather it be that way.”
West Valley’s defense made things tough for the Giants (2-8 overall, 0-2 in KCMSBC play). The Wolves forced multiple turnovers from Cedar Bluff and West Valley (4-3, 2-0) turned those miscues into transition baskets.
Although Landrin admitted that his offense is yet to click to his liking, West Valley did have a balanced scoring attack as eight players scored in the contest.
The Wolves, who lead 16-1 at halftime, got 10 points from eighth grader Hayden Treadwell. Owen Marsh added six.
Kameron Seagrist and John Sheringham each scored four points. Henry McCool had three while Carson Jones, Justin Orler and Mason Meyers each finished with two.
For the Giants, Trevor Lawrence led the way with four points. Trace Corum added two and McMahan had one.
Comer honored: After guiding the Wolves to the 2016 tournament championship, Comer retired from coaching.
He was honored by the school Thursday night. West Valley is working to have the court named in his honor.
Comer has taught or coached at West Valley since the school opened in 1999.
His son Alex was his one-time assistant before taking over the girls program from the legendary Tim Goddard.
Alex is now the Cedar Bluff boys coach and was on hand for the ceremony.
Landrin also served as an assistant to the elder Comer for the last two seasons. He had high praise for his former boss.
“I think the world of coach [Chuck] Comer,” Landrin said. “He’s still around here and as long as he’s around here, he’s the coach. This is his program and he taught me a lot.
“A lot of the stuff we run on offense is the same stuff that we run and a lot of the defenses we ran are the same ones that he ran.”
Chuck Comer may no longer roam the sidelines at West Valley but he continues to teach physical education at the school.