Thunder stops Hawks from flying high

Jalen Glapion, Sports Writer

After the 13-3 Desert Vista Thunder returned from the holiday break where they won 7 of their 8 games, they had the opportunity to play in a friendly rivalry matchup against the 7-8 Highland Hawks for the first time of the season. The beginning of the January 9th game started off slow but competitive and full of defense with four lead changes in the first two minutes of the game, keps DV on top. They gained their first two possession lead at 10-6 after an alley-oop slam from Alijah Gammage to Wesley Harris. In the finishing minutes of the quarter the game continued to stay tight with the score ending at 17-14 with the Thunder up.

The second quarter started off quick with a three pointer for the Hawks and another to match it from DV’s power forward Jaden Rollins. DV backed up that play with Wesley Harris’ second putback layup of the night. Three minutes into the quarter Tyrek Chambers increased the lead to seven with a contested layup and In the remaining three minutes of the half the Hawks knocked down a three pointer to cut the lead to four. In the last ten seconds of the half Chambers converted a fade-away jump shot to put the lead to double digits for the first time at 10. The quarter ended off with Gammage making both free throws to end the half off on a 12 point lead of 37-25. Harris completed the first half with an impactful contribution of 15 points.

The second half started off with the Hawks hitting a three pointer and the Thunder following it up with two back to back layups. After a difficult start to the second half DV’s head coach Crump took all of his starting players out and put out a new five. Crump’s claim for this risky decision was “they refused to play defense” and stated “I had complete confidence in my non-starters to come in and motivate the first group and win the game and that’s exactly what they did.” It wasn’t long until Highland went on a run of their own scoring 12 unanswered points to give them a three point lead over the Thunder. DV guard, Ry McGuigan recovered the lead after their four minute scoring drought after knocking down a corner three pointer and Isaiah Wilson finished a fastbreak layup. In the last minute the third quarter the Hawks offense was too much for the Thunder after converting another three to finish the quarter off with a one point lead of 46-47.

The concluding quarter started with the Hawks carrying over their hot shooting making a three pointer once more. Two minutes into the fourth quarter the Thunder gained a one point lead after Anigwe made both free throws at 51-50. halfway into the fourth quarter the Thunder forced the Hawks into multiple turnovers increasing their lead to seven. The Hawks competed throughout the last minutes but couldn’t hold a run resulting in constant fouling and poor turnovers. With less than a minute remaining DV capitalized their lead to eight after a runout slam from Harris. Chambers scored his 19th point to finish the game off with a nine point lead to end the game with a final score of 69-60, with the Thunder collecting their 14th win of the season.

Harris came away with player of the game racking up 23 points. The game was a competitive back and forth matchup and was played aggressively at the defensive end with the Thunder coming away with 15 steals for the night and the Hawks fouling 19 times. By himself, Gammage recorded 6 steals for the night.

Playing solid defense keeps the Thunder in the win column for another game.