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With visiting Cary Academy serving as the ideal foil, the Wilson Prep varsity boys basketball team was free to put on a 32-minute infomercial regarding its brand of play Wednesday night.
Running freely from the opening tip against an overmatched opponent, the Tigers, sometimes committed to style over substance, missed more high-flying dunks than they made. But any deficiencies in throwing the ball down with force were covered up by the outside shooting of seniors Tyronne Whitaker and Cody Taylor.
The duo combined for eight 3-pointers in the opening quarter, and Whitaker knocked down eight for the game as part of a season-high 13 for the Tigers in a runaway 103-72 victory.
WPA, in producing a season-high point total, won its fifth straight game in improving to 15-4. Cary Academy of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 4-A Triangle Conference, tumbled to 1-17. The Chargers tried to stay afloat early behind the 3-point shooting of Alex Nunnally, but were soon overtaken by WPA’s end-to-end athleticism as the Tigers posted a 37-17 lead after the opening quarter.
“I’ve got some guys that are pretty athletic,” first-year Wilson Prep head coach Craig Wilson said. “It’s kind of scary how athletic they are. Tyrone, he was in a zone tonight. It seemed like everything he was putting up was going in, and it was good to get him going like that. He hadn’t really been going like that for a few games, but to get him back in rhythm and get his stroke going, that was pretty good.”
Whitaker’s 28 points led all scorers and paced six Tigers in double figures. Senior Righteous Tomlin, a relentless slasher, had 20 points and senior Denardrick Gray added 15.
Cary Academy led only on Nunally’s trey to open play, but that was countered by back-to-back 3-pointers from Whitaker.
“Once I made that first shot, it felt like I was on fire,” Whitaker said. “So I just started shooting, and I really didn’t miss. Me and Righteous really bring a lot of energy to the team.”
Taylor’s four 3-pointers in the opening quarter accounted for the balance of his scoring. However, it was the culmination of extensive rehabilitation to his jump shot.
“I’ve got to give credit to Cody,” Wilson said. “He’s really been working really, really hard on his shot. We had some things that we had to adjust on his shot. We’ve been working on his technique, and he’s been putting in the time. It showed tonight.”
Sophomore Nasir Blackston and senior Jalen Artis added 11 and 10 points for the Tigers, respectively.
Leading 62-34 at the half, Wilson Prep induced the 40-point running clock on Gray’s third-quarter floater to make it 90-50.
The Tigers led by as many as 44 on Gray’s fourth-quarter layup, but a desire to appear on highlight reels ruled the final eight minutes. Wilson Prep produced just nine points in the abbreviated session and allowed Cary Academy to cut what was a 44-point cushion down to 29 before the end of the fourth.
Wilson took a timeout and was none too pleased with what he saw.
“I called a timeout because they weren’t playing any defense,” Wilson said. “It’s like they see how easy we can score, so they’re just letting them have layups so we can get offensively back on this end. They just wanted to display all athleticism and showboat a little bit, and I’m not really big on that, unless it comes within the grand scheme of things. If we’re playing defense and you can get out — then we can display our athleticism — I’m OK with that.”
Hagan Aderhold led Cary Academy with 24 points.
CARY ACADEMY (72)
Brown 6, Saxena 3, Reed 3, Aderhold 24, Buxbaum 3, Mason 12, Nunnally 17, Larsen 2, Balkas 2.
WILSON PREP (103)
Whitaker 28, Gray 15, Taylor 12, Adams 3, McTaggart, Miller 4, Tomlin 20, Blackston 11, Artis 10.
Score by quarters:
Cary Academy 17 17 18 20 — 72
Wilson Prep 37 25 32 9 — 103