Boys Basketball: Southland College Prep tops Wilmington for program’s first postseason victory
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media February 24, 2014 9:14PM
Updated: February 25, 2014 2:13AM
For Ermahn Oduro-Kwarten and his Southland College Prep teammates, making school history Monday night felt great. Proving themselves? Even better.
“We’re trying to gain respect,” Oduro-Kwarten said. “People don’t know much about us because we’re a small school, we’re a charter school and we’re brand new. We have something to prove. We plan on playing a lot of games this week.”
Oduro-Kwarten led the way with 20 points as the Eagles earned the first playoff win in the history of the program, which is just two years old, with a 54-44 win over the host Wildcats in a Class 2A Wilmington Regional quarterfinal.
“It’s certainly a step in the right direction in terms of getting our students to understand that hard work and playing the right way leads to positive results,” Southland coach Daryll Lacey said.
DaJean Kelly was the table-setter for the Eagles (4-11), finishing with 12 points, five assists and four rebounds. Josh Buford added 11 points. Southland will take on No. 1 seed Reed-Custer in Wednesday’s semifinal.
Basil Hicks led Wilmington (2-25) with 23 points.
Southland, which lost to Ag. Science in its first postseason appearance a year ago, came out blazing, jumping out to a 15-3 lead through one quarter behind eight points from Buford.
Wilmington, meanwhile, was just 1-of-10 from the field in the first quarter and didn’t get much going in the second, either, trailing 24-9 at the half.
“We wanted to come out and executive both offensively and defensively and set a pace we were comfortable with,” Lacey said. “Patience is key to our offense and we try to involve everybody.”
When Wilmington got going in the second half behind the hot shooting of Hicks, Oduro-Kwarten had all the answers, scoring 15 points after the break.
Several of his baskets came on easy layups off passes from Kelly.
“I’m the passer,” Kelly said. “That’s what I like to do.”
Down 39-25 after three, Wilmington got to within eight points three times in the fourth — and to within six with 50 seconds left — but Kelly hit three free throws and Chaz Milligan two in the final minute to seal the victory.
Southland shot 21-of-48 from the field while holding Wilmington to 17-of-42.
Nate Rock (11 points, 6 rebounds) and Ted Mills (8 points, 8 rebounds) contributed for Wilmington.