Golden Lions gear up for district tournament run
By Chuck Livingston Sports Editor
The Wonder girls and boys teams finished their respective regular seasons with wins over West last night at Lehr Arena. In the girls game, the Lady Golden Lions finished 20-0 overall and 12-0 in district play with a 40-11 win over the Lady Blue Imps. Wonder also won the nightcap, 49-32, against West in a game that will be rematched in the opening round of this season’s junior high district tournament, which will also be held at Lehr Arena. Wonder scored the first 34 points of the game against West in the girls contest, taking a 37-1 lead with it to the halftime lockers. Kwame Brown, Wonder’s head coach, was very impressed with his team’s intensity from the word go. “I was just telling coach, that’s how we’re supposed to start ballgames,” Brown explained. “We aren’t always aggressive like that, but we were tonight.” For its excellent regular season, Wonder earned a regular season conference title, and the No. 1 seed in the district tournament. That will give them a bye to Wednesday, or the semifinal round of the tournament, where they will play the winner of the Jonesboro MacArthur-West Memphis East game. West finished as the No. 6 seed and will matchup with the No. 3 seed Marion on Monday at 6 p.m. If Brown was concerned about his team overlooking West in the finale, those fears were quickly erased. “I’m not sure we even know or are worried about that (an undefeated season), they just like to play,” Brown says. Wonder was led by Tashlee Milow’s 16 points, 15 from Aryiah Hazley and five points and eight rebounds by Tiera Bradley. West got six points from Sloan, three from Caylin Brewer and two from Alley. In the boys game, West led 10-4 after the first quarter, but from the second quarter on, Wonder’s full-court press terrorized the Blue Imps. Wonder (17-4 overall, 9-3 district) forced 21 turnovers for the game, and 19 after the first quarter to notch that 49-32 win. “That’s what we like to do. We didn’t want to get out there and do it too early,” said Brown. “Coach said that he wanted to do it a certain time. Our guys love it, they love playing fast, but we play them again on Monday, so we didn’t want to show them too much.” Wonder’s defense was crucial, but their work on the glass was nearly as effective. The Golden Lions outboarded the Blue Imps 32-20, including 20 on the offensive glass. “Coach worked with them all week. We’ve looked at boxing out, going for rebounds and all of that, and I guess it worked,” Brown explained. Wonder will play West for the third time this season on Monday evening at Lehr Arena in the opening round. That game will tip at 7:15 p.m. The winner will advance to play the winner of the Jonesboro MacArthur-Mountain Home game, which will tip at 2:15 p.m. on Monday. Wonder was led by 22 points from Kenneth Phillips and 13 from Cavin Paige.