6A BOYS BASKETBALL
Mount Hood Conference
|#8 Barlow Bruins|
|#4 Central Catholic Rams|
Barlow senior Joey Wolcott put on a pair of scoring bursts that carried the Bruins to a pivotal 61-52 boys basketball win over Central Catholic on Wednesday night.
Down by three late in the first half, Wolcott sank a 3-pointer in front of the Rams' bench, then Jaren Hunter found him cutting down the middle of the lane for an easy two at the front of the rim. The spurt ended with Evan Inglesby sending a pass to the top of the arc where Wolcott swished another deep ball.
He struck for eight points in less than a minute to send the Bruins into halftime up 26-23.
Wolcott kept the hot shooting touch when he returned to the floor.
Barlow guard Jesse White dribbled into the lane and whipped a behind-the-back pass into the corner that found Wolcott for a triple.
Next up, Inglesby drove to the basket and was knocked into the pads behind the basket. No whistle sounded, and action moved to the far end of the floor. Wolcott grabbed a rebound off a Rams' miss and sent a deep pass beyond halfcourt where Inglesby was trying to get back into the action. He took the pass and went for the hoop again — this time with a half-step on the nearest Central defender, which proved just enough space to throw down a dunk for a 33-26 lead.
The Bruins were up three heading into the fourth quarter when Wolcott came up with another scoring surge.
White swiped a steal only to see his layup attempt slide off the rim. Wolcott rebounded the miss and was fouled on his way up to the basket. He hit his first free throw, and his second came up short. No worries, Wolcott was quick off the line, grabbed his own miss and lifted it over the front of the rim for two points.
Wolcott wasn't finished.
He came up with a steal in the backcourt and was knocked to the floor, giving him another trip to the free-throw line. This time he sank both shots, putting Barlow in charge 45-37.
"They were so focused on guarding Jesse, that it opened up the floor for the rest of us," Wolcott said. "I just had to be confident and hit the shots."
With a sizable lead, the Bruins were content to move the ball outside the arc, patiently searching for a layup opportunity. Central nearly cut the ploy short when Darius Gakwasi blocked White at the side of the rim, but Jaren Hunter was quick to scoop up the loose ball.
Barlow took almost two minutes off the clock before Central went into foul mode down the stretch.
The Bruins went just 2-for-7 in four trips to the stripe, but Central suffered misses on the offensive end and were unable to take full advantage.
Still, Barlow coach Tom Johnson called timeout to gather his troops for the final 90 seconds.
"It was just a reminder to close the game out, be strong with the ball and don't turn it over," White said. "We haven't beaten them since my sophomore year, and we didn't want to let them back into this game."
The Bruins made a focused effort to get the ball into the hands of either Inglesby or White the rest of the way. Central refused to foul Inglesby, instead sending White to the line four consecutive times.
The league's leading scorer didn't miss, sinking all eight free throws to secure the win.
Wolcott finished with a game-high 22 points, while White added 18.
The victory leaves Barlow (12-6) tied atop the Mount Hood Conference with Clackamas (14-4). Those teams meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Clackamas.
Central opened up with a 14-5 lead with Isaiah Amato providing an early spark by stealing a ball in the backcourt and diving out of bounds to save it to Gakawasi for a finishing layup. Amato struck again by stretching out to block a Bruins' 3-point try, collecting the ball and taking it the distance for a layup.
"We know it's a long game — they are all 32 minutes — and we are a senior group, so there was no panic. We knew we just needed to get some defensive stops to get back in it," Inglesby said.
The Bruins made it a one-point game by the end of the first quarter when White chased down a long rebound along the sideline and whipped the ball inside to Inglesby, who was cutting through the lane.
Barlow moved ahead to start the second quarter when Hunter fired a tall pass toward the rim, feeding Inglesby for an alley-oop layup.
The win marks No. 599 for Tom Johnson's storied career. He goes after a benchmark 600th win 7:30 p.m. Friday at Centennial.
Barlow girls rally to sweep series with Rams
Down double-digits at halftime, the Bruins went on a 20-4 tear in the third quarter on its way to a 52-50 win at Central Catholic on Wednesday.
Emily Fortin hit a 3-pointer during the comeback burst, while Kennedie Shuler and Melanie Hiu combined to go 7-for-8 (87.5%) from the free-throw line in the quarter.
Barlow put nine players into the scoring column — six of them scoring multiple buckets. Shuler led the charge with 11 points.
"I was most proud of our balanced scoring and everyone being ready to play at the top of their game — that is what we needed tonight," Barlow coach Nick Hudson said.
The win leaves Barlow (14-4) alone at the top of the Mount Hood Conference ladder — one game ahead of Central, David Douglas and Clackamas.
"I told the girls to celebrate tonight and be happy, but to come ready for business at practice tomorrow because there is still a lot of basketball to play," Hudson said.
This story is scheduled for our Friday, Feb. 7, print edition.
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