Fourth-quarter run pushes Golden Lions over the top
By Billy Woods WM School District
It took the Wonder boys a while to get started Monday night at Lehr Arena, but when the fourth quarter rolled around they hit an extra gear. Ignited by a 23-foot three-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer by point guard Cavin Paige, the Golden Lions hit West with a 9-2 run to start the fourth quarter on their way to a 51-34 victory. The win improves Wonder to 14-3 overall and 3-1 in conference play. Wonder’s fourth-quarter explosion was just part of the game plan, according to head coach Kwame Brown. “Honestly, I’m going to say it was all about conditioning,” Brown said. “The plan was get (West) to the fourth and then let our conditioning work with the ropes and the (medicine) balls pay off.” In the preliminary game, the undefeated Wonder girls overpowered West 44-9. West played very shorthanded Monday night. Eighth-grade sensation Chris Moore missed his third straight game after injuring his knee. He is expected to miss the rest of the season, but will be fully ready for AAU play in the spring. The Blue Imps stayed within striking distance for most of three quarters, trailing only 15-10 at halftime behind inspired play from Mark Robinson, who led West with 11 points. West was down 30-24 in the final seconds of the third quarter before Paige swished a three-point rainbow to make it 33-24 heading into the fourth quarter. Paige used that boost to spark the fourth-quarter run with some deft passing in transition and some six quick points from jumping-jack forward Kenneth Phillips, who led all scorers with 14 points. “Sometimes (Paige) tries to do a little too much, but he’s an excellent passer,” Brown said of his Little General. “Sometimes he tries to be more of a scorer rather than a facilitator, but when he’s playing the way we want him to he’s beautiful to watch.” In the midst of the early fourth-quarter spurt, Brown ordered his squad to spread out the West defense and it immediately resulted into two well-placed passes and a basket by Julian Morris for the Lions’ biggest lead of the night at 42-26. West, however, kept digging despite the loss of Moore. “We got a little frustrated and I think a little bit winded, too,” West head coach Jimmy Hawkins said. “We’re getting some folks to step up for us, though, without Chris in there.” Wonder also got 13 points from Jamal Macklin while Paige and Immanuel Hoard each scored 9. West also got 8 points from Diviria Robinson and 7 from Corliss Brewer. In the girls game, the Lady Lions upped their record to a perfect 14-0 overall and 4-0 in conference action. Eighth-grade point guard Aryiah Hazley was all over the floor contributing on defense and offense while scoring 12 points to back up leading scorer Tashlee Milow, who had 13. Also starring for Wonder’s girls were Kenya Freeman with 9 points and Tiera Bradley with 8. West was led in scoring by Caylin Brewer with 7.