Sophie B. Wright got off to a decent start Monday night at Xavier University. With each passing quarter, the Warriors only got better and better.
Damiree Burns and Gregory Hammond scored 21 points apiece, Charlie Russell and Rashaun Vance got into double figures with 12 and 14 points respectively and Wright cruised to an easy 80-65 win over Walker.
The Warriors (24-3) started as well as they usually do, but it was the improved performance through each quarter that truly stood out. Wright led by eight after one, 11 at halftime and 25 after three before finishing with the 15-point victory.
Walker (19-8) lost despite a brilliant 29-point performance from Jalen Cook.
“The main thing is that Walker is a very good team,” Wright coach Jason Bertrand said. “They’re 5A state champions. They’ve got two kids that are amazing. We knew we had to focus and have our 'A' game ready, because they have one kid who can flat-out beat you by himself. The kids did a good job today of focusing on detail and not letting them play in a lot of space. We knew we had an advantage in the paint and we tried to force that.”
The Wildcats did a good job early on of fighting through adversity, particularly in the first quarter, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to overcome the dominant performance of the Warriors.
“We’ve got to come ready to play,” Walker coach Anthony Schrio said. “I thought we did some decent things early in the game. I don’t think we were playing particularly well but at least we were still in the game, but then after that it just felt like we were never really in the game. We’ve just got to prepare better and part of that is my fault, because I have to get us ready to play better. All in all, it’s a whole team effort; the coaching staff and the players have to be ready to play the game, because today it just didn’t look like we were ready to play.”
The game was competitive in the early stages. Burns scored the first 9 points in the first quarter in helping lead the Warriors to a 20-12 lead after one.
The second quarter was still relatively competitive, though Wright began to pull away toward the end. Vance’s buzzer-beating 2-point shot gave Wright the edge 36-25 at halftime.
The third quarter is when the Warriors went on an offensive explosion, with Hammond piling it on and ending the third quarter with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Warriors a 64-39 lead.
The fourth quarter saw the Wildcats attempt a comeback, but it wasn’t enough even as Wright emptied its bench late in the quarter.