For most of the game, it was anyone’s guess who would play Bishop Loughlin of New York in the Sugar Bowl Prep Classic final Saturday night. By the end, however, it was clear that the Dunham Tigers would be ready for the challenge.
Carlos Stewart scored 28 points with five 3-pointers, Salle Wilson added 18 points and the Tigers won a highly contested game against the Sophie B. Wright Warriors, 81-72.
The Tigers (15-2) were hot from long range as they made 11 3-pointers. Though Wright battled to hold the lead at several times, Stewart and company couldn’t be stopped from making pressure shots and led by as many as 10 points.
“My teams is playing really well right now,” Dunham coach Jonathan Pixley said. “Having the experience that we do on this team obviously helps. Getting Carlos Stewart eligible this year is huge.
"Based on where he lived last year he was ineligible for us as a ninth-grader. Having him obviously helps a lot. These guys are used to winning now so when you play a team like Wright, which is also used to winning and they present different problems, my guys just find a way to get it done.”
Wright (18-3) got a big night from Gregory Hammond, who scored 29 points on six 3-pointers. The Warriors even managed to battle back from 10 down to pull ahead by five late in the third. Dunham’s defense late in the game and lights-out shooting from beyond the arc ultimately doomed the Warriors chances .
“Hat’s off to Dunham,” Wright coach Jason Bertrand said. “I think they outplayed us tonight. For whatever reason we just didn’t have our best stuff. We had uncharacteristic turnovers and didn’t play with that spark that we usually play with. We just really weren’t ourselves tonight, and sometimes it’s like that. Like I said, hat’s off to Dunham, they just outplayed us, they made a few more shots than we did.”
The Tigers got off to a roaring start in the first quarter as they made five 3-pointers, going up by as many as 11, but the Warriors battled back going on an 8-0 run to close the quarter, putting Dunham up 19-16.
The second quarter saw the Warriors take the lead by as many as six, but a 10-0 run by Dunham put the Tigers up 31-27 at halftime.
Wright went on a 10-run late in the third quarter to go up by five with 1:30 left, however, the Tigers managed to tie the game after a buzzer-beater by Stewart at the end of the period, making the score 55-55.
The Warriors battled in the fourth quarter pulling as close a one point, but the Tigers were too much as they led by as many as 10 points and ultimately got the nine-point victory.