- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Wright nets career high vs. Sidwell Friends; Butler hits 1,000 points in win over Westlake
By AJ MASON
North Point guard Marquis Wright loves playing in big games and is primarily a facilitator first and a scorer second on the basketball court.
In Friday night’s Waldorf Holiday Hoops Classic championship game versus Sidwell Friends, the 6-foot-1 senior showed off his streaky shooting from long range and sparked North Point with a career-high 34 points en route to an 83-64 victory in the second of a boys and girls doubleheader at North Point
For the third straight season, North Point (7-1 overall) claimed the Holiday Hoops Classic crown on its home court. Earlier in the evening, the North Point girls cruised to an 84-36 win over Westlake to claim the title in the eight-team tournament, the first Holiday Hoops title ever for the girls program.
Wright, who made 11 of his 14 field goal attempts, connected on 6 of 8 three-pointers, dished out five assists and grabbed seven rebounds in the victory. Entering Friday, he was third on the team in scoring with an average of 15.7 points per game, now he leads team with 17.8.
“It was exciting tonight because I hadn’t been shooting the ball well ,” Wright said. “This was a big win tonight, they were ranked No. 5 in the area and it all was going to come down to execution and that’s what we did.”
During a timeout in the third quarter, Eagles head coach Jimmy Ball drew up a play called 41 cutter, but mentioned that Wright had something else in mind.
“Marquis looked at me after that timeout and I told him, ‘Do what you do,” Ball said. “I didn’t know he was going to be hot like that from three. He knows what is going on on the floor better than I do. I have a lot of faith in him, and when he sees something, I’m going to let him go. I know he always comes to play in big games.”
Wright and Matt Bonds combined for all 23 of North Point’s points in the third quarter. Bonds, a senior forward, scored 24 points and grabbed 14 boards, while forward Naim Muhammad came off the bench with eight points and 11 rebounds.
“In the third quarter, we were feeling it and Marquis just fed me the ball,” said Bonds, who showed his outside shooting touch with two threes. “He was on fire tonight and I just wanted to use my quickness down low. “We took this as an ultimate step to our common goal [of a Class 4A state championship].”
North Point never trailed in the contest, leading 17-14 after the first quarter and 38-27 at intermission. Sidwell Friends (14-2) trailed by 10 points in the first five minutes and did not get any closer than seven points after halftime, due to North Point’s depth and full-court pressure.
In the process, the Eagles wore down Villanova recruit Josh Hart, who finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, seven steals, seven assists and a block shot. Hart, a guard, is averaging 25.3 points per game for the season. Senior guard Matt Hillman led the Quakers with 25 points, knocking down four threes.
Sidwell Friends cut North Point’s lead to 50-42 in the third on a Hillman three, but that is the closest it would get as the Eagles capped off the night with the Holiday Hoops crown.
Eagles rout Wolvs for Hoops girls crown
The Eagles (8-0) exploded to a 39-20 halftime lead and wore down the Wolverines in the third, outscoring them 30-8 en route to a runaway victory.
Senior forward Tasia Butler had a game-high 22 points to go along with 14 rebounds, while junior forward Khalia Prather was a force inside with 19 points and 22 rebounds.
Prather scored the team’s first seven points of the game.
“We came out and played defense from the jump,” Prather said. “It was nice to win this, but we want a state title. Westlake is a very physical team, so it’s always good to beat our rivals.”
North Point made 32 of its 52 attempts at the free-throw line, 61.5 percent, while Westlake made 14 of 20, 70 percent.
“Top to bottom, I was pleased with the team’s performance,” North Point head coach Mike Serpone said. “Our goal is to hold teams to under 40 points and we did a good job on defense.”
Early in the second quarter, Butler, the Syracuse University-bound guard, scored her 1,000 career point on a driving layup. Afterwards, she was ecstatic, as her friends and family were on board, including older sister Tiara, a 2010 North Point graduate.
“Aside from winning the game, it was a big accomplishment,” Butler said on reaching 1,000 points. “We knew what to expect from Westlake, and it was great with my sister and parents here to watch me.”
“It was great to be a part of the celebration for Tasia scoring 1,000 points,” Serpone said. “She’s worked very hard for us and deserves it.”
Leading the Wolverines (6-1) was junior guard Shanea Butler, who scored 15 points in the contest and was bothered by the flu.
“North Point just outplayed us. Free throws were a big factor, they crashed the boards harder than we did,” Westlake head coach Ardell Jackson said. “It was a physical game on both sides. We have to go back to the drawing board. We have to keep working on our game plan. That was a good win for North Point on their home floor. We have to win those big games and keep getting better. Second half of the season is about to start and that’s when it all counts.”
Westlake will face Calvert at Calvert Middle School in Prince Frederick in a nonconference contest at 6:30 tonight.
North Point’s boys and girls teams are off tonight and will host a boys and girls nonconference doubleheader on Friday. The boys will tip off at 5:30 p.m., with the girls to follow at 7.