Wilson tops Northwestern
For three quarters Northwestern didn’t have much of a problem with Wilson’s full-court press. But after 24 minutes the relentless pressure started to wear on the Tigers.
The Warriors forced a flurry of Northwestern turnovers early in the fourth quarter to take control of the game and eventually pull away for a 72-59 win in the boys Class 4 District 11 consolation game at Freedom High School.
“I think the pressure at the end wore them down,” said Wilson head coach Mike Glovas. “The things we were doing in the first half, they were getting around it. They had the energy.
“At the end, the pressure caused more turnovers and we capitalized on them.”
No. 6 seed Northwestern (13-12) had grabbed the lead late in the first half. The Tigers were up by as much as five in the third quarter and held a 47-45 lead heading into the fourth.
But the No. 4 seed Warriors (17-8) forced five Tiger turnovers in the first minute and 16 seconds of the fourth quarter, opening the period on a 10-0 for a 55-47 lead. Northwestern never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
“We turned the ball five times in a row,” said Northwestern head coach Billy Hallman. “They dialed up the pressure to start the fourth quarter and we got behind. When they spread you out on a big court, they’re tough to guard. They have three guys that can break you down.”
Deven Bollinger stopped the run with a pair of foul shots that cut the deficit to 55-49. But the Warriors followed that with an 8-2 run to open the game’s first double-digit lead at 63-51 with 2:49 left.
Wilson junior Sam Brown had 13 fourth-quarter points and a game-high 36 points.
“He’s hard to keep in front,” said Hallman. “When we’re behind, we’re trying to keep the ball out of [Rob] Swaitek’s hands because he’s such a good free-throw shooter. That leaves us single coverage on [Brown] and he beat us.”
Before the fourth quarter, neither team had a lead bigger than six points and the teams traded the lead seven times over the first 24 minutes.
The first quarter saw just two players account for all but three of the teams’ combined 27 points.
Wilson’s Brown scored 12 points in the first quarter as his team led 15-12 after eight minutes. All 12 of the Tigers’ first-quarter points came from Thomas, who went on to score 20 in the first half as his team took a 33-30 lead into halftime.
Brown cooled off with just a pair of points in the second quarter, but he re-heated in the second half with another 22 points.
“I didn’t know he had 36,” said Glovas. “He’s excellent at attacking the basket. Tonight was something.”
Thomas led Northwestern with 28 points in the game.
Both teams move on to the state playoffs next Friday. Northwestern will face Lancaster Catholic, the second-place team from District 3, Friday night.
Devin Thomas made all nine of his first-half shot attempts and went 12-for-15 in the game.
Sam Brown made six of seven first-half shot attempts and went 16-for-19 in the game.
The Tigers Sean McCann scored 15 points, all on three-point shots. The junior made all three of his attempts in the first half, but went 2-for-7 after halftime.