Friday, July 28, 2017 This Week's Paper

Wilson holds off Gig Harbor’s late charge

// Young Rams show promise, learn lessons

Coming off of a perfect 10-0 season in the Narrows 3A last year, Wilson coach Dave Alwert did not know what to expect from a team that will be heavy on youth this year. Gone are leading scorers Phoenix Waters, Kevin Johnson, and Jaden Martin. But if early returns are any indication, the next four years in northwest Tacoma should be exciting times for Rams fans. Freshman David Jenkins had 17 points and sophomore Ivy Smith chipped in with 15 points as Wilson held off a late rally from Gig Harbor to win 71-64 on Nov. 30 in their season opener at home.

“I told our young squad what to expect early on, and they got off to a great start,” said fifth year Ram head coach Dave Alwert. “But (they) failed to take the same attitude with them in the second half and it almost cost us. It will be a great learning tool.”

The Rams came out with defensive intensity, running out to a 42-20 halftime lead. But it would be that would be challenged early in the fourth quarter.

“We got a little lazy in the second half, and it will be a lesson well learned,” said Alwert of his young troops.

Trailing 52-36 entering the fourth quarter, the Tides began to find open looks, with Carson Gearhart and Jared Murphy finding their range to cut a 24-point lead down to six with just under three minutes to go. Murphy would finish with 19 points while Gearhart tallied 12 points.

“We did not put four quarters of good basketball together, but we became much more unselfish in the end,” said Alwert. Nursing a four-point lead with under a minute left, Smith drained five consecutive free throws to secure the win. “The talent level of these kids is really incredible, but they’ll have to lean to play all four quarters regardless of the opponent and the score,” said Alwert.

As they prepare for the league season, Alwert said his squad must learn what it’s like to compete against veteran Lincoln and Foss teams if they want a shot at another 3A title. “They’ll see the level of competition go up considerably and will have to be ready to respond to it, so we’ll have to get them ready in a hurry,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”