Photos by Alex Huang
Yesterday evening, the second-seeded boys’ basketball team topped #3 Waldorf, 65-34, in the PSAA quarterfinals.
It was the first home playoff game for the boys since a 54-45 win over Mercy in 2018, and the Bears came out with energy on their own floor. Orlando Morris got the scoring started with a 3-pointer before Randolph Logan sandwiched layups around a Nate Small steal and score as the Bears grabbed a 9-0 advantage in a blink. Following a Waldorf layup, Logan hit a jumper, Small swished a hook shot, and Charlie Onana Awana threw down a putback dunk as the lead mushroomed to 15-2. However, the Wolverines showed their toughness by scoring the final six points of the frame to trail 8-15 after one.
Waldorf’s hustle helped them keep pace over the first eight minutes, but the Bears would build another double-digit lead in the second quarter that they would not relinquish. After a Waldorf layup cut their deficit to five, layups from Andreas Simoni and Small and a floater from Federico Chiappa pushed the advantage to 21-10. Waldorf answered with a 3-pointer, but Small splashed a trifecta of his own to ignite an 18-0 run that spanned the second and third quarters. He followed with another 3-pointer before layups from Logan and Small pushed the advantage to 31-13. Onana Awana slammed a block off the backboard in the waning seconds to emphatically end the first half.
The Bears’ surge continued in the third as a fastbreak layup from Chiappa and a pair of Logan scores preceded a fastbreak, two-handed slam from Onana Awana that swelled the margin to 39-13. The 6′ 7″ forward followed that up two plays later with a spin move and one-handed slam that brought the Blue Fan Group to its feet. Small scored eight points over the rest of the quarter as the Bears took a 55-27 lead into the fourth.
In the final frame, Niks Zemitis got out on the fastbreak and crushed a two-handed slam that got as much of a cheer as buckets from John Bui and Josh Duncan, who played well off the bench.
Small led all scorers with 26 points, while Logan (14), Onana Awana (6), Chiappa (6), Simoni (4), Morris (3), Zemitis (2), Bui (2), and Duncan (2) made life difficult for the Waldorf defense.
The victory moves the Bears into the PSAA semifinals for the second straight year. They travel to Lawrence Woodmere, the top seed in the West Division, this afternoon for a chance at a berth in Thursday’s PSAA final. The Bears beat the Tigers on the road, 61-57, earlier this month.