Ivy Smith buried two free throws with nine seconds left as the Wilson Rams defeated the third-ranked Lincoln Abes by a score of 52-49 Friday night at the Lincoln Gym in front of a packed house.
“They went from boys to men tonight, we really grew up,” said fifth-year Wilson coach Dave Alwert of his young troops, whose starting five consists of three freshman and two sophomores.
The Abes came out of their locker room in their “championship whites, jerseys that were worn in both the 2001 and 2002 seasons when Lincoln won back-to-back 4A state titles. Lincoln jumped out to an early lead, with Colorado commit Tre’Shaun Fletcher leading the way. The Abes led by as much as 12 points in the first half, but Wilson went on a second-quarter run behind Keun Thompson and David Jenkins to cut the Abe lead in half, at 27-21 at the break.
A different Ram team took the floor in the second half, led by Alphonso Anderson, whose 10 third-quarter points gave Wilson a lead for most of the quarter. Anderson’s offensive aggression forced Fletcher, who would lead all scorers with 17 points, to sit with four fouls.
“I came out a lot more aggressive in the second half and took it right to Fletcher. I needed to give my team a real lift,” said the freshman, who led Wilson scorers with 15 points.
Trailing 49-48, Anderson drew Fletcher’s fifth foul and proceeded to hit both foul shots to give Wilson a 50-49 lead. Following a Justiss Warren missed jump shot, Smith corralled the rebound and calmly performed his heroics at the line for a three-point lead. After Josh Eckwood’s last-second three-pointer was off target, Wilson could celebrate pulling off the upset – their third win over the Abes in four tries over the last two years.
“They (the Rams) finally gave us the heart and discipline that we’ve been asking for. It was a tremendous win,” said Alwert. With the win Wilson kept alive their slim hopes for West Central District action, but will need some help.
“I was glad to really step up my game in the second half and give my team a real lift,” said Anderson.
The Rams will now turn their attention to another must-win game against Foss on Monday night at the Harry Byrd Gym.