West

Zane Campbell (21) is one of six seniors on West Limestone’s basketball team. The Wildcats will play in their first ever regional tournament game Thursday.

A glance down the roster of the West Limestone boys basketball team will reveal a squad with experience.

Of the 11 players that suit up for the varsity squad, six — Zane Campbell, Cody Herring, Tyler McClung, Tommy Reyer, Cody Smith and J.J. Taylor — are seniors. Four of them start.

These six are a big reason the Wildcats are preparing for a trip to the Northwest Regional Tournament Thursday at Wallace State – a trip no other West Limestone boys basketball team has ever made.

“I think we’ve got a great team,” Campbell said. “We don’t fuss on the court and we play well together.”

Whether the Wildcats success stems from friendship off the court or familiarity on it, the seniors each have a specific role to fill and they all embrace their role without complaint.

West Limestone coach Justin Taylor said the strength of the team is the play of Campbell.

Some nights Campbell is called on to dominate inside on offense while other nights he might be needed to provide defensive help.

“He’s solid every night giving us whatever we need,” Taylor said. “Free throws, 3-pointers, guarding the other team’s best player or rebounding. Whatever we’ve asked all year, he’s done a great job.”

While Campbell has shown range in his offensive game, he is most dominant down low by scoring put-back baskets and grabbing offensive rebounds.

Of course, Campbell cannot do his job without help. That is where Smith comes in.

He is the Wildcats’ deep scoring threat. His ability to hit the 3-pointer with consistency has improved near the end of the season.

“He’s come on here lately starting around the County Tournament,” Taylor said. “He’s stepped up and hit big shots to open things up inside, which is our strength.”

Of course, all the offense in the world is useless unless a team can get some defensive stops during the game. That is where the other two starting seniors —Reyer and Herring — benefit the team.

Reyer usually draws the assignment of guarding the other team’s best guard. If Reyer can disrupt the other team’s offense, the Wildcats have a chance to build big leads.

“Tommy’s improved tremendously since last year,” Taylor said. “He does a good job and has gotten a lot of big stops for us.”

Taylor describes Herring as a “lunch pail guy” that does most of the dirty work for the Wildcats. While Campbell provides a defensive presence by blocking shots, Herring’s responsibility is to battle for rebounds.

“His rebounding is huge and he’s our best passer,” Taylor said.

His passing makes him a threat at both ends of the floor. A good outlet pass from the defensive end can lead to a good offensive chance while good passing in the offensive zone can lead to a teammate getting an open look at a big shot.

While Campbell, Smith Reyer and Herring get all the glory on the floor, West’s success may not be possible without the contributions of McClung and Taylor.

“You can’t practice with five or six guys,” Taylor said. “The guys that don’t get a lot of playing time make the ones that do play everyday much better.”

Taylor said McClung is the most hard-nosed player on the team and he won’t back down from anyone while Taylor has come off the bench and made some big shots for West during the season.

The seniors have worked hard all season and it has paid off with at trip to Wallace State.

“I’m so excited I don’t know what to say,” Smith said. “We started slow, now were going to Wallace. It’s awesome.”

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