A matchup between two of the best teams in the city certainly lived up to all the expectations.
Charlie Russel scored 18 points, Damiree Burns and Scorey Holmes chipped in 13 and 10 points, respectively, and the Sophie B. Wright Warriors defeated the Newman Greenies 58-56 on Wednesday night.
After Newman got off to a good start, Wright (24-5) took control in the second half and controlled the rest of the way until late.
Riley Demps made a diving layup with 1:50 remaining to give the Greenies a brief lead before Gregory Hammond answered with a 3-pointer to give the Warriors a 57-56 lead. The Greenies got a few more opportunities with less than a minute remaining, but couldn’t convert any of them, giving the Warriors a win against their former district rivals.
“We’re old district rivals and we know each other pretty well, so we figured it would probably be one of those games where it came down to whoever had the ball last,” Wright coach Jason Bertrand said. “The first half, Newman kind of controlled it. The second half I thought we were able to get into the paint a little more, and I think that made the difference.”
The Greenies (22-4) started the game off on a 9-2 run and led 17-10 after one quarter behind Javon Ruffin’s eight points. Wright got things going in the second quarter, going on a 10-2 run of its own and outscored Newman 21-16 in the quarter as the Warriors trailed 33-31 at halftime.
The third quarter saw Russell take off as he scored sevebpoints and the Warriors held a 47-45 lead going into the fourth period.
“It was a great game by both teams,” Greenies coach Jimmy Tillette said. “Both of us played hard. They made a few more plays at the end of the game and we didn’t and that was the difference.”
The Greenies got down by as many as seven in the fourth before clawing back. After Russell made a free throw to give the Warriors a two-point lead, Demps attempted a 3-pointer to regain the lead with 30 seconds remaining but the ball bounced off the rim back to the Warriors.
After the Warriors missed a free throw attempt, Demps missed a layup with 6.8 seconds remaining. The Warriors missed another free throw to give Newman one last chance, but Ruffin’s half-court attempt came up short and Wright walked out with the win.
Ruffin and Demps finished with 19 and 13 points, respectively.
With district ending for Wright on Monday, Bertrand said the win will give his team momentum.
“Newman is probably the best team we’ve played up to this point,” he said. “We’ve faced some good teams but they might be the best one. Coach Jillette is one of the best coaches in the whole state so getting a win like this is huge for us going forward.