If the Pirates were without the services of their star player, the Wolverines were without their regular head coach, Richard Morton, who has been sick and is expected to be back on the bench for their next game. His sub, JV coach LeChet Phillips, said, “We played well enough to win. They played as a team for most of the game. They tried hard and the guys were getting down on defense. Basically, they were doing everything necessary to get the W tonight.”
Deer Valley scored an impressive 38 points in the first half, tallying 19 in each of the opening quarters. Pittsburg kept it close for much of the opening quarter – until Wolverine shooting guard Olajuwon Garner buried three-pointers on consecutive possessions followed by split free throws.
By the time the second quarter expired, Deer Valley had taken a 13-point lead. Garner netted all 12 of his points in the opening half. Despite scoring no points in the second half, he was Deer Valley’s second leading scorer on the night, trailing only big man Andre McPhail, who finished with 17.
The Deer Valley scoring pace cooled in the second half, so much so that the Pirates outscored them, but not by enough to threaten the Wolverine lead, which was never less than 10 points after small forward Xavier Cephas netted their opening points of the second quarter.
The highlight of the second half came when the 6-foot-6-inch McPhail caught an alley-oop pass and threw down a monster dunk. During pregame warm ups the Wolverines had plenty of players demonstrate that they could dunk (though nobody actually did, as that would result in a technical foul).
“In the end, we played a little sloppy – a few too many turnovers,” said Phillips. “We didn’t get in our sets the way we should, the way we normally do. I’d prefer if they did that a little more. They (Pittsburg) came out; they fought hard. This is the kind of effort we have come to expect to face every time we face a league opponent.”
Tonight, Feb. 5, Deer Valley plays on the road against Liberty.