Jan. 11--COTTONWOOD -- To get West Valley High senior forward Pim Lewis to tap into his potential, he had to accept his role in the post.
It wasn't long until the success followed.
Lewis scored 12 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter and added nine rebounds in a 58-36 nonleague divisional win over visiting Oroville on Tuesday night.
Lewis used to often creep out along the perimeter, a position he would likely see more time at in college, West Valley coach James O'Brien said. But O'Brien convinced the 6-foot-6 Lewis, who's averaging 18 points per game, that he needs to be in the paint for his teammates in order to turn the Eagles (9-6) into a section championship contender.
"It's taken him (believing) he has to be an inside player," O'Brien said. "He's being more successful and he's getting excited playing inside. Last year and this summer there were still times you were like 'get inside, get inside' but it's really boosted his confidence."
West Valley went to Lewis early and often, working the ball into the paint to its workhorse who was active on both ends of the floor throughout the first half. With the game tied at 11 after the opening quarter, Lewis scored five points during a 13-0 Eagle run, capitalizing from dribble penetration that left him wide open for easy two-footers, which helped build a 26-13 lead at the break.
The third quarter was all Oroville (7-9) as Ryan Lowe scored 12 of his team-high 16 points in the period alone pulling the Tigers within reach. The Eagles were careless with the ball, turning it over four times in the first two minutes, creating more possessions for the Tigers. Lowe buried a trio of treys, the final one on a pull-up at the buzzer to cut the lead to three entering the final stanza.
But Oroville scored only four points in the fourth as West Valley opened the period with an 11-0 run with Lewis being the focal point of the effort, which was capped by his old-fashioned three-point play. Lewis made his move immediately after he received the entry pass and the Tiger defenders couldn't keep up with him when he went to his right.
"I've been working on my post moves a lot and dribbling and shooting and trying to make my teammates better," Lewis said. "Anything to make my team win and get us farther, that's what I want."
Oroville's theme of missing short-range shots stemmed from the presence of Lewis inside and West Valley's 2-3 zone. The Tigers carried it over from the second quarter to the fourth where they couldn't get any to fall to keep pace with the Eagles.
"We didn't finish inside and that's what really killed us," Oroville coach Robert Anderson said. "When you're missing two-footers, the confidence level continues to drop and we let up after missing some chip shots."
West Valley closed the game on an 11-point run with more of Lewis inside as Riley Pfrimmer mixed in all of his eight points, two on 3s, to seal it with a big win heading into Northern Athletic League play on Friday against Lassen.
"This gives us confidence going into league and to win by that big of a margin is even better," Lewis said.
West Valley 58, Oroville 36
Oroville 11 2 19 4 -- 36
West Valley 11 15 8 24 -- 58
Oroville (7-9): Lowe 16, Schereck 11, Chase 3, Thao 2, Lobo 2, Martin 2.
West Valley (9-6): Lewis 26, Pfrimmer 8, Langlo 6, Semingson 6, Bunn 5, Stone 4, Meyer 3.
3-point goals -- Oroville 4 (Lowe 3, Chase 1); West Valley 4 (Pfrimmer 2, Bunn 1, Meyer 1).
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