Craig Harris/Macon County Times Red Boiling Springs High senior point guard Hunter Kirk finished with 17 points and 5 assists in a 54-26 win over visiting Westmoreland.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

Red Boiling Springs High senior point guard Hunter Kirk finished with 17 points and 5 assists in a 54-26 win over visiting Westmoreland.

RED BOILING SPRINGS -- Hunter Kirk had a different view of basketball games earlier this season.

The Red Boiling Springs High senior point guard had been accustomed to being on the court.

However, Kirk was sidelined for the team's first four contests this season but had his most productive outing on Dec. 18, helping the Bulldogs roll to a 54-26 victory over visiting Westmoreland.

"It's pretty exciting," Kirk said of the team's 14-1 start to the season. "Coach (Michael) Owens said it's the second-best start in school history or the third-best start in school history. That's cool, getting that milestone."

Kirk was the RBS football squad's quarterback and suffered an Achilles injury in the team's final game in late October.

"I'd say I'm about 90 (percent healthy)," Kirk said. "It's sore. It's not completely healed, but I can play about 90 percent.

"It's not the same burst as during football. I was more explosive during football than I am now."

However, Kirk posted his second consecutive game of double-figure points, after providing 14 points, 8 assists and 3 steals in a 71-64 win at RePublic one night earlier.

"He's playing better," Owens said. "He's done a good job even when he was injured, running the team and getting the ball to (junior center Dalton) Marsh. He does a great job of getting the ball to Marsh on that first seal on the block.

"His scoring was a little down, but he's gotten back. I think he's about 95 percent healthy now. The last couple of games, he's shot the ball well. He's starting to come into his own. That gives us another offensive weapon."

Kirk added, "From about the end of basketball season last year until about November, I was straight football, excluding going to (summer basketball) camps. Coming back to basketball, where you get that dead period from football to basketball, I didn't get to practice during that. I didn't get the transition period, so yeah, it was a little difficult."

Kirk made all four of his squad's 3-pointers against Westmoreland, sinking two of those to account for the game's first two baskets.

"Last night, I hit two (3-pointers)," Kirk said. "In the Westmoreland game (a 68-35 win at Westmoreland on Dec. 1), I hit three.

"I started off slow. I think I've gotten back into my shooting groove now. All my teammates give me wide-open shots. I play with a lot of good passers, a lot of good players in general."

The Eagles battled back to pull to within two points (14-12) midway through the second quarter, but the Bulldogs reeled off the final 11 points of the first half.

Then, Kirk opened the second half with his third 3-pointer, continuing a 23-1 run that lasted until midway into the third quarter. Kirk's final 3-pointer capped the surge, giving RBS a 37-13 lead.

"It's just fun to play ... when you're making shots, it's fun to play," Kirk said. "It gives you a confidence boost too.

"If you're open, take the shot."

Marsh concluded the third-quarter scoring with a putback and then added eight more points in the final period. He ended the game with 26 points and 14 rebounds.

"We tell them, start out by pounding the ball inside to Marsh," Owens said. "Pound it inside and let them double or triple-team (him). We'll play inside-out. When it comes inside-out, you're going to shoot a higher percentage, because your feet will be set.

"They've bought into those things. That's increased their (shooting) percentage, being a little smarter."

Kirk finished the game with 17 points and 5 assists.

"It's extremely important," Kirk said of making perimeter shots. "When you have a 6-8 dude, you're going to get a lot of wide-open shots. Most teams try to double Marsh. When you're hitting shots, it's fun. That takes somebody off Marsh, and then, he can score on almost anybody one-on-one."

Junior point guard Dawson Mitchell led Westmoreland (1-11) offensively with 11 points.

RBS won its fifth consecutive game and improved to 14-1.

"I thought we had a good shot -- if we played well -- that we might could have run the table in the first 15 games," Owens said. "We're 3-1 in the district, so we're sitting really good.

"We've established what we want to do. Everybody has established their roles. Now, we just have to get better defensively and take advantage of our opportunities. It's just fine-tuning things, but I think we'll get there."

The Bulldogs open play in the Sgt. York Southeastern Christmas Invitational -- which will be played at York Institute -- on Thursday at 5 p.m. against Washburn School.

Red Boiling Springs boys 54, Westmoreland 26

WESTMORELAND (26) – Dawson Mitchell 11, Parker Dunigan 7, Kirby Bickerton 3, Ryker Hodge 3, Collin Casteel 2.

RBS (54) – Dalton Marsh 26, Hunter Kirk 17, Matthew Murphy 6, Omarion Williams 3, Mason Hix 1, Dalton Thompson 1.

Half: 25-12, RBS. Three-point goals: Westmoreland 4 (Mitchell 2, Bickerton 1, Dunigan 1), RBS 4 (Kirk 4). Records: Westmoreland 1-11, RBS 14-1.