D is the key for this year’s Wyoming East Warriors.
“This is the first time we’ve given up 50 points,” said WEHS coach Rory Chapman after his club’s 66-50 win over North Marion in Saturday’s game at New Richmond. “We feel like if we can keep a team in the 40s, we can come up with enough offense to win.”
After seeing a 19-point lead shrink to five by the end of the third quarter, the Warriors defense got back on track.
They held North Marion without a field goal for five minutes. Senior Austin Canada turned a couple of steals into layups and sophomore Logan Blankenship poked the ball away near the sideline to create a scoring chance for himself as East went on a 16-1 run to make it 61-41.
“The kids have bought into what we’re doing and enjoy playing (defense)” Chapman commented.
Canada scored off a feed from Christian Hedinger and Jordan Hayes made a follow shot to give the Warriors a 4-0 lead. East never trailed in the game.
After the Huskies (3-3) got on the board, WEHS went on a 12-0 spurt.
Cody Lester started it with a bucket inside and Canada finished it with a three-pointer from the right side. It was 16-2.
Hedinger drilled a three at the buzzer to give East a 21-6 margin at the end of the quarter. “We were communicating (in the first half),” Hedinger stated.
As the fouls mounted up, the Warriors went to the bench for help in the second.
The lead reached 19 on two occasions, the last on a Hedinger layup with 1:36 showing. It was 37-20 at the half.
“When you start using a lot of people, it interrupts the offensive flow,” Chapman said. “But it’s good to get to play a lot of kids.”
North Marion started the third period with an 11-0 run. Kurt Rogers and Cody Opron combined for eight of those points.
“We just didn’t come after them in the third,” Canada reflected. The Huskies continued to carve into the deficit and got within 45-40 when Chase Banker hit a short jumper from the lane.
“They came out with more intensity than we did (in the third),” Chapman commented.
East turned the momentum around in the fourth.
Hayes hit a follow shot and a three-point play as the lead ballooned to 52-41.
“Last year, Jordan was the fourth man in a three-man rotation (of bigs),” Chapman said. “But he kept working and brings intensity to every practice and every game.”
The Huskies were not able to get back into the game after the big fourth quarter run.
“We’re playing pretty well,” Canada noted, “but we can always improve.”
Canada and Hedinger tossed in 15 each, and Hayes contributed 13. Blankenship scored eight.
Matthew Martin had 10 for North Marion. Opone, Rogers and Micah Parris scored nine each.
East will host Westside this Friday.
Game notes: East is 2-0 against the Huskies. They last played in the Capital Classic in Charleston in December 2010 … The three games in December is the fewest ever for the Warriors.
Photo: Austin Canada of Wyoming East takes the ball to the basket during Saturday’s win over North Marion at New Richmond.