Game 3 featured an indescribable matchup between the Tamanawis Wildcats and the Walnut Grove Gators.
As expected, the Tamanawis Wildcats came out strong in the first quarter, putting up the first points and even going for a 9-0 run on the Gators.
Tami played solid defence, holding Grove to just 5 points early.
It was a battle of the bigs between Miguel Tomley and James Woods. With both guarding each other on the court, there was bound to be some tension between the two. A huge hit from Woods gave Tomley a chance at the foul line, giving Tami another 2 on the scoreboard.
The Wildcats stayed on top for the entire quarter, leading 22-9 heading into the second.
Woods began the quarter with a wet 3 to take the Gators to within 10 points. After finding his way to free-throw line, he put another 2 up for Grove.
It didn’t matter how many Gators were attacking Tomley; he still shined in the paint, putting up an easy layup to combat Woods’ 5. But after his third foul in just 12 minutes of play, Miguel Tomley found his place on the bench.
Maybe that’s all Grove needed to flip the momentum to their side of the court. With Tomley briefly riding the pine, the Gators made a climb on the scoreboard to stay within just two points.
Tamanawis led by only 33-31 at the half.
At the start of the third, Woods splashed in a 3 to give Walnut Grove the lead for the first time in the entire game. In fact, Captain Woods carried the team for much of the first five minutes of the quarter.
Tomley seemed a bit shy but finally sunk a 3 near the midway mark. Gators’ Azino Tyrell Urefe snapped back, hitting his own 3 to keep the game tied at 41 apiece.
Both sides of the court saw back-and-forth action for the duration of the third. Hearts raced as points flew onto the scoreboard for each team. At the end of the quarter, Tami led 50-48.
Walnut Grove opened up the scoring with Woods completing a beauty layup to equalize at 50. Of course, Tomley answered back and dropped another 4 points for Tami.
As the minutes dropped off the clock, the Gators gained a smidge of momentum to come within just 3 points of their opponent.
Woods took it to the hoop in transition, to land harshly and suffer from what looked like muscle cramps. After a time out called by Grove, Woods returned to the free-throw line to hit both foul shots that were awarded to him. The Gators trailed by only 1 point with 30 seconds remaining in the game.
Tami stopped Grove on their next possession, which prompted the Gators to take an intentional foul. With Jeevan Sidhu sinking both foul shots, Grove needed to drop a 3 to take this game to OT.
Unfortunately for Walnut Grove, Tamanawis was able to get around the flare screen and put two man pressure on the final shot, causing Woods to miss.
The Tamanawis Wildcats secured a spot in the semi-finals with a final score of 63-60 over the Walnut Grove Gators.
Player of the game, Miguel Tomley, was held to only 26 points with 7 boards.
Head coach Mike McKay says the plan coming into tonight’s matchup was to shut down the Gators star players.
“They have a couple very good, experienced players, in James Woods and Jacobs, and we were just trying to take them away as much as we could.”
Coach commented on the absence of Tomley in the second quarter and admits the rest of the squad just tried to focus on slowing down the game and lessening their opposition’s possession of the ball—a tactic that in the end, did the trick for the Wildcats.
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Written by: Crystal Scuor