Plenty of high school basketball teams like to start fast. However, there is plenty to be said for finishing strong like University High did Friday night.
The Cubs trailed by one point when the fourth-quarter began, but proceeded to outscore The Dunham School 19-6 to close the game and went on to a 55-43 victory in District 7-2A boys action at UHS.
“They had a great game plan,” University High coach Joe Spencer said. “At the end, I think we settled down and were able to pull away a little bit.
“At first, we didn’t adjust to how physical the game was. With most of our guys being freshmen, that’s part of it. The start ... we have stuff to work on. But I was definitely pleased with how they finished.”
Skylar Mays finished with 15 points to pace U-High (18-1, 3-0), which won its 11th straight game. Wayde Sims contributed 14 points, while Jalen Johnson and D.J. White each had nine.
Dylon Maggio had a game-high 17 points for Dunham (14-5, 1-1). Quinton Thomas added 11 for the Tigers. Jyron Walker had nine for Dunham.
The U-High girls made it a sweep with a 70-28 victory over Dunham in the first game.
UNIVERSITY 55, DUNHAM 43: Johnson, part of UHS’ Fab Four group of freshmen, made a crucial 3-pointer that extended UHS’ lead to five, at 46-41, with 3:06 left in the game.
“Coach drew up a play and when the ball came to me I was open,” Johnson said. “I knew it was going to go in.”
Mays and Sims contributed in different ways. Mays quarterbacked the Cubs and also made his share of key shots, including two 3-pointers and a pivotal dunk to end the third quarter.
Sims shook off foul trouble and connected on 4-of-6 free throws down the stretch, twice drawing blocking fouls as her surged toward the goal.
“At the four-minute mark we were right there,” Dunham coach Jonathan Pixley said. “The game plan was perfect. Our issue was we stopped scoring. When you stop making baskets and matching baskets, we got out of what we were trying to do.”
The teams traded baskets through the first quarter. Thomas’ putback of a miss with 4.6 seconds left to give Dunham a 12-11 lead going into the second quarter.
U-High controlled the second quarter and took a 23-21 lead on a 3-pointer by Henry Shortess with 35.6 seconds remaining and led 24-21 at halftime.
Dunham came back and led by as much as five points in the third quarter. Maggio scored seven points in the period, including a 3-pointer that ignited a Tigers run.
A steal and dunk by Mays with 15 seconds left got UHS within one, at 37-36, when the fourth quarter began.
The score was tied twice early in the fourth quarter. Johnson’s jumper in the lane put U-High ahead for good at 41-39 with 4:45 left.
UNIVERSITY 70, DUNHAM 28: University (17-5, 3-0) used a 26-8 third-quarter surge to put away from Dunham, which dressed just six players for the game because of injuries.
Alanie Fisher scored a game-high 18 points, including two 3-pointers for the Cubs. Di’Mond Jackson and Terriel Ross each added 15. Jackson added six assists.
Brea Manuel, who scored 11 points, was the lone player in double figures for Dunham (5-13, 1-1).
“They’re just better than us in every way right now,” Dunham coach Chad Myers said. “And when they press you it’s tough.”
U-High took a 20-8 lead after the first quarter. The Cubs elected not to press in the second quarter, which worked to Dunham’s advantage. The Tigers outscored the Cubs 7-6 in the quarter. A runner in the lane by Manuel got Dunham within 26-15 at the half.
But in the third quarter, the Cubs resumed their up tempo pace and poured in it in with a series of transition baskets. Fisher scored a couple of times off passes from Jackson.
“Overall, I’m pleased, especially with how we played in the second half,” University coach Bonita Johnson said. “Our defense did some good things.”