By Ryan Kuhn
Lick-Wilmerding High School showed Gateway why defense wins games.
During the first round of the Lick-Wilmerding boys basketball tournament, the host Tigers forced 18 turnovers and held the Gators to just one field goal in the second half to defeat Gateway 39-29 on Thursday.
Lick senior guard Isaiah Boone led the Tigers with 11 points, but stressed the importance of the defense.
“Our defense will lead to our offense,” Boone said. “Even if we are having a bad offensive day by not shooting well, our defense will keep us in the game.”
Right from the tip-off, Lick (2-1) came out with a full-court press that caused three straight Gateway turnovers to give the Tigers an early 9-2 lead.
Gateway (1-1) tightened up its own defense early in the second quarter that led to more opportunities on offense.
After a pair of baskets by Gateway center Kenechi Anigbogu, a 3-point shot by Ryland Moore gave the Gators a 25-22 lead at the half.
“When they changed from a zone to a man-to-man defense, it really took us out of it,” said Lick head coach Eliot Smith. “We had to do some work going into halftime.”
The Gators were held scoreless in the third quarter and scored only four points in the fourth on a layup by forward Jeffery Robinson and a pair of free throws with 1:23 remaining. The Gators shot just 31 percent from the floor.
“We just came out without the intensity in the first half that got us through that second quarter,” said Gateway head coach Greg Grossman said. “We just couldn’t find it [in the second half]. I’m not sure where it went, but we didn’t play with the fire in the second half.”
Gateway will play in the consolation bracket against Athenian on Friday, while Lick will take on Balboa in the tournament semifinals.
Isaiah Boone — 11
Matt Bergland — 8
Ben Schneider — 8
Andrew Rauch — 6
Anthony Shaw — 4
Ryland Moore — 11
Kenechi Anigbogu — 7
Ramon Thompson — 6
Evan Derheim — 2
Jeffery Robinson — 2