LONGMONT — Alexander Dawson’s senior captain Tom Walker wasn’t happy with the way he, or his Mustangs teammates, played in the first half against Longmont Christian on Monday night.
So, like a captain should, Walker made up for it in the second.
The Mustangs guard hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter to break open a 67-52 win for his team. As prolific as Walker looked in the scorebook, he said he started making shots because the Mustangs started running their offense better and that meant easier shots for him.
“Our whole team, it wasn’t just me, found a rhythm in the third quarter,” Walker said. “We were up by maybe four at the break and we just went on a big run. We started moving the ball much better so I was getting a lot of open looks. When we’re in rhythm like that, we’re a really good shooting team if we catch them wide open on the wing like that.”
Walker said the Mustangs, who led 26-22 at halftime, were too tentative and hesitant to take shots during the first two quarters. But that wasn’t much of a problem when the Mustangs outscored the Warriors 24-17 in the third quarter and 17-13 in the fourth.
Monday’s game was a 2A Mile High League contest but did not count towards’ either teams’ conference record. The Mustangs’ 76-61 win over the Warriors (8-7, 3-4) on Jan. 29, however, did count. Walker, who leads the Mustangs (11-5, 5-3) with 16.4 points per game, said the rematch felt like a conference game.
“They’re a league team. They’re also one of our rivals,” Walker said. “We’re right down 287 so we play them a lot every year and I think we’ve played them in the playoffs the past two years. We’re wrapping up the season, looking forward to playoffs so it’s important to win every game we can.”
Switching to a press, the Mustangs played better defense and spread the ball around in the second half.
Walker wasn’t the only senior captain to a have a good night for the Mustangs, Robby Keown, also a senior captain added 13. Senior captain Shawn O’Grady put up 11 points.
Walker, Keown and O’Grady combined for 30 points in the second half.
“In the second half, we really got out stuff together,” O’Grady said. “In the first half, some of us didn’t realize how much it mattered to our team to get some good preparation for the playoffs coming up. But in the second half we all got on the same level.”
The Mustangs have three games left and will play Arrupe Jesuit in Denver on Thursday.
For the Warriors, head coach Jerry Martin said the Warriors were better defensively the second time around against the Mile High League foe. But where they improved defensively, they regressed on the offensive end.
“Other than Tom making shots, the defense was a lot better than the last time,” Martin said. “Obviously, we didn’t account for him and he didn’t shoot like that the last time. Take away that great night shooting and it was a much better night defensively. But we didn’t shoot the ball as well. We missed shots late when we had a chance to get it back.”
Junior Dylan Wehrli led the Warriors with 14 points, junior Josiah Bolyard scored 12 and freshman Cade Martin added nine.
Martin pointed to a stretch when the Mustangs pulled out to a double-digit lead and the Warriors responded with three straight turnovers against the press as a turning point in the game.
The Warriors will play a league contest against Dayspring Christian Academy (2-11, 2-5) on Thursday.
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Alexander Dawson 67, Longmont Christian 52
At Memorial Gym in Longmont
ALEXANDER DAWSON (11-5, 5-3)
Rosenblatt 0 0-1 0, Gansar 0 0-0 0, Connor 3 0-1 7, Dolan 0 0-0 0, Paquette 0 0-0 0, Morley 1 0-0 2, Keown 6 0-0 13, Smith 0 0-0 0, Lorentzen 3 2-5 8, Walker 9 1-1 24, Gallop 1 0-0 2, O’Grady 5 1-1 11. Totals 28 4-9 67.
LONGMONT CHRISTIAN (8-7, 3-4)
Martin 3 0-0 9, Kee 0 0-0 0, Flowers 0 0-0 0, Wehrli 5 4-4 14, Bolyard 4 2-3 12, Rodarte 4 0-1 8, Puchino 0 0-0 0, Leetch 1 1-2 3, Moffitt 2 2-2 6, Dahl 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 9-12 52.
Score by quarters:
Alexander Dawson 14 12 24 17 — 67Longmont Christian 13 9 17 13 — 52
3-point field goals — Alexander Dawson (7): Walker 5, Keown, Connor; Longmont Christian (5): Martin 3, Bolyard 2. Total fouls — Alexander Dawson 17, Longmont Christian 14. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.