East County Sports

Coach Armstrong would’ve been proud



EastCountySports.com staff report


SANTEE – It was an emotional evening for all involved in West Hills’ season opener against visiting Southern California Yeshiva on Wednesday night.

The Wolf Pack were playing their first regular season game after the sudden passing of head coach JEFF ARMSTRONG on Oct. 3.

The Wolf Pack won, 80-42, over the Hawks, but most eyes focused often on the chair bearing the coach’s name.

It would’ve been hard for coach Armstrong to find fault in the team’s performance on Wednesday night. The focus, despite an overmatched opponent, obviously wasn’t lacking either.

“We are dedicating this season to coach Armstrong,” said sophomore KYLE DOBYNS, who led the Wolf Pack with 16 points on Wednesday night. “We had a spot on the bench dedicated to coach Armstrong and we felt that he was with us tonight.”

West Hills consistently built a 35-26 halftime lead, but junior JAYDEN MORENO came out hot in the third quarter, scoring eight of his 14 points for the Wolf Pack.

“I’m one of the faster kids on the court and coach always tells me if you run the court you will get rewarded and tonight my teammates did a great job seeing me down the court,” Moreno said. “My teammates and I were extra emotional because we wanted to start the season off with a win for coach.

Coach Armstrong’s chair at the game on Wednesday night.

“I felt that Coach was watching the whole game, guiding every shot in.”

Sophomore ASHTON AVESTRO came home with nine tallies, including a three-pointer in the first quarter.

West Hills’ reserves looked impressive in the fourth quarter, as well, as everyone in the scorebook made at least one field goal

That had to also bring a smile to coach TIM BARRY, knowing he got a complete performance from the team in honor of his friend.

The Wolf Pack led 14-9 after one quarter. Dobyns and Moreno combined for 16 points in the first half.

“We are lucky to have coach Barry take the lead as head coach,” Dobyns said. “We have a young team and we are trying to come together to make this a successful season.”

For Barry, managing the team might have been his easiest assignment of the night, since his partnership with Armstrong had kept the Wolf Pack program running smoothly on and off the court for years.

“It was emotional and humbling playing for the first time in the gym since coach’s passing,” Barry said. “The team all took a moment to appreciate Coach and (wife) RENATE after the game for all the Armstrong family has done.”

Following the game, smiles, hugs, and memories were shared.

“Coach Armstrong was on our mind but we also know that he would’ve wanted us to play hard and do the things that he had taught us,” Dobyns said.

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