Perimeter shooting just wasn’t on fire for Northview Heights, Dec. 22.
The senior boys basketball squad depended too much on their treys and a dominant Westview Centennial defence kept Phoenix board crashers off their game.
Phoenix coach Samantha Burrows, looked on from the bench with concern as her long-ball shooters, including Munam Choudhary and Ali Bafi, missed repeated chances.
“We needed to win this game to go on, so we have another two season games and that will be the end for us,” she said.
Out of the ashes though, rose Phoenix guard Kyle Smith who adapted his inside efforts to compensate for the lack of an outside game.
“What did work was driving to the basket, which is what Kyle’s really good at doing,” Burrows said of the upstart grade 11. “He’s got a great handle on the ball and when he picks up his defensive intensity he’s pretty unstoppable.
“He’s got really quick feet and he can beat anybody.”
Smith had 24 points in the cause, adding three steals to his count. Phoenix forward Eugene Rimando had eight points, four boards and five steals. Brian Kim chipped in with six rebounds.
With the Wildcats, their squad distributed the ball effectively enough to have two players in double digits and four more flirting with the point mark. Nana Adu-Poku had a double-double picking up 11 points and 13 rebounds at the post.
Teammate Sajan Ganesh led all Westview scorers with 14 points. Also crashing the boards was Rashawn Salmon with six also adding six points of his own to the scoresheet.
The Wildcats went into the match with a depleted roster, but coaches Clayton Thomas and Steven Silverberg said they were impressed with their cohesion.
“I think we played a good team game,” Thomas said. “Our full court press was good and we didn’t give up too many second-chance opportunities.
“We tried to keep the score down,” Silverberg added. “We only gave up (37) points so that’s pretty good.”
Though the Phoenix post-season hopes have been shut down, Burrows directed attention to a Northview Heights junior squad that was undefeated at the Christmas break.
Coached by Dale Davis, the squad will possibly provide the Phoenix with a future North Region West Division title at the senior level, especially with Smith returning in 2012–13 for his grade 12 year.
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