Boys’ basketball rides second half surge to playoff victory

By Austin Block

After a frustrating first half, the boys’ basketball team held a one point lead in its second round state playoff game against Chatsworth. Despite an 18 point first half effort from senior forward Damiene Cain ’11, the Chatsworth Chancellors kept the game close, cutting down a 10 point lead and pestering the Harvard-Westlake guards with an aggressive full court press. The Wolverine coaches headed into halftime vexed.

Then the third quarter began, and the Wolverines blew the game open. They would never give the Chancellors another chance. Guard Jordan Butler ’11 buried a deep three pointer in the dying seconds of the third quarter to give Harvard-Westlake a 12 point lead, and the Wolverines cruised through the fourth quarter to a 77-59 win.

Junior center Zena Edosomwan ’12, who entered the game as the team’s leading scorer with 17 points per game, said that Head Coach Greg Hilliard told the players at halftime that they had to “step it up.” They were giving up too many three pointers, committing too many turnovers, and weren’t playing defense or playing their game. Edosomwan clearly took Hilliard’s message to heart, leading the Wolverines in scoring in the final quarter.

“The second half we finally awoke and started playing our good basketball,” Edosomwan said. “You can tell by the score it’s our first blowout win, so it was good to finish up strong.”

While the Wolverines were pulling away, Cain, who had carried the team on his back in the first half, was suffering from bad leg cramps and dehydration. He received sideline treatment for much of the second half while his teammates built a lead and clinched the game.

“I think with the trouble Damiene was having and some of the foul trouble that we got into, I think that tonight the key was some of the guys coming off like Lewis Dix ’11 in reserve and holding the floor, [Jordan] Butler ’11 holding the floor when Zena was in foul trouble,” Hilliard said. “They haven’t got a lot of minutes lately and to come up big like that in a big game that was probably the key… We were kind of covering for two of our big guys and Josh [Hearlihy ’12] had to do a lot more and Jordan [Butler] had to do a lot more and they all stepped up … team victory.”

The Wolverines will play their state quarterfinal game in Taper Gym on Saturday at 7 p.m. against La Verne Lutheran.