Still haunted by the two stinging losses to Mount Tahoma that kept them out of last year’s district playoffs, the Wilson Rams set out to reverse their fortunes. A year older and a year wiser, the Rams earned a resounding 87-50 win over the Thunderbirds at home on Dec. 13 in the 3A Narrows opener for both clubs.
“We told them to stop playing the two-passes-then-shoot game that we were getting caught up in the first half, that was playing right into Mount Tahoma's hands,” said Wilson head coach Dave Alwert.
Holding onto a narrow 33-27 lead at the half, the Rams got the message and coasted to the easy win behind 16 points from David Jenkins, while sophomore Montre Brown added 15 points and Alphonso Anderson had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The stubborn Thunderbirds kept it close in first half with guard Devion Hammond – who finished with a team-high 16 points – pouring in three three-pointers.
“We were a little lax on the defensive end in the first half, and we came out in the third quarter with a lot more resolve,” Alwert said.
With the Rams offense stuck in neutral for much of the first half, Wilson kicked it into high gear for the remainder of the game with their defensive pressure forcing the Thunderbirds into low percentage shots and leading to high percentage shots on the Wilson end.
“We were a little too selfish in the first half and we began to feed off of our defense in the second half,” said Brown, whose athleticism was on full display on both ends of the court. The highlight of the game came in the third quarter when Anderson took a perfect feed from Ivy Smith – who finished with 11 assists and five steals – down the lane and sent home a monster slam that punctuated the lopsided win.
The Rams were set for a showdown with Narrows 3A contender Timberline down in Thurston County on Dec. 18, and a nonleague test against Bellarmine Prep at the ShoWare Shootout in Kent on Dec. 21. They host Skyline on Dec. 23 at 1:30 p.m. and will play at the Franklin Tournament of Champions at Franklin High School in Seattle on Dec. 26-28.
By Steve Mullen
LINCOLN ROLLS OVER NORTH THURSTON
They may not have the superstars this year, but Lincoln isn’t lacking for athleticism or defensive energy. The Abes disrupted North Thurston’s offense from the start, pulling out to a big lead early and coasting to a 61-31 win over the Rams at home on Dec. 13.
“We were able to get after them athletically and press the ball,” said Lincoln head coach Aubrey Shelton. “Our defense and our quickness looked pretty good tonight. That was good to see.”
David Marrero scored on a layup to give North Thurston its only lead of the night at 2-0 less than a minute into the game. The Abes then held the Rams scoreless for over nine minutes, launching a 19-0 run to take control. Sophomore guard Dionte Simon grabbed two steals in the final minute of the first quarter, going coast-to-coast for a layup and following with a nice dish to Trevion Brown for a layup to make it 16-2 heading into the second quarter. Lincoln had eight steals in the first quarter alone.
“It’s the little things that count for us,” said Simon, who finished with seven points and four of the Abes’ 17 steals. “We can care less about the offense, because we need to keep people from scoring. That’s our main focus.”
Brown made it 19-2 with a three-pointer early in the second quarter, and Isaiah Smalls, Josiah Barsh and Shon Peterson each hit threes in the period to help extend the lead to 32-10 at the break. The Abes finished 7-for-15 from three-point range in the game.
“We’ve got some guys that can shoot, and when they’re open they knock them down,” Shelton said. “They were knocking them down tonight.”
The Abes took their largest lead at 44-14 on a rebound and put-back by senior center Justice Martion midway through the third quarter.
Freshman point guard Londrell Hamilton also left his mark in the contest, collecting a team-high six steals and dishing out seven assists while tallying five points.
“He just makes everyone better,” said Shelton of Hamilton. “More than just the offense, I’ve been so impressed with his defense. He’s one of our best defenders. He flies around the court. He takes charges. He elevates to get steals.”
Smalls finished with a team-high 10 points for Lincoln, while Barsh had nine points and Peterson and Brown tallied eight points apiece. The Abes picked up their first league victory, and improved to 4-0 overall on the young season. They next take on Gonzaga Prep on Dec. 27 at 5 p.m. at Bellarmine Prep High School. They will face the winner between Bellarmine Prep and Columbia River at Bellarmine Prep on Dec. 28.
By Jeremy Helling