One of the best nights in basketball is the night when a player can’t miss. Woodlawn’s Tyray Cooper had one of those nights, making 11 of 12 field goal attempts in the Warriors’ 61-47 win over Dunbar on Friday in the Baltimore Basketball Academy at Morgan State.
The senior guard started the game with 12 points in the first quarter and ended the half with 22 for the Warriors (5-2). He finished with 27 points, and the key was patience.
“I just kept being patient,” Cooper said. “My coach told me to slow the ball down and they [shots] were coming in easy. We were passing the ball and moving it around a lot. We just kept coming back and it made it easier.”
Dunbar’s program is young and for first-year head coach Keith Booth, the Poets (3-5) are a work-in-progress. The team currently has no seniors and zero returning starters.
Woodlawn coach Bobby Richardson praised the job that Booth is doing with his young squad.
“We’ll always take a ‘W,’ ” Richardson said. “I’m happy to get the victory. We’ve got a tough one tomorrow as well — they’re young right now. They don’t have any seniors at all and I just learned that today and Coach Booth is new to the program — I’m sure he’ll have them right. It’s always a pleasure to play tough competition.
“Again, we have nine seniors and they have none and I’m just happy that we pulled it out. We didn’t execute well in the second half, but I’ll take it.”
Woodlawn finished the first quarter with a 17-5 lead over Dunbar, due to Cooper’s 12 early points. Teammate Kiran Thompson added nine points as the Warriots built a 35-18 lead at the half.
Dunbar began to press back in the third quarter, with guard Raynell Bert getting to the line six times and hitting five free throws. With his seven points, Dunbar trailed just 43-38 after the third quarter.
With Cooper rallying his teammates, Woodlawn began to pull away with six scorers hitting buckets in the fourth quarter. Thompson was the high-point man of the quarter with six and finished with 13.
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“So, coach told us to execute the ball,” Cooper said. “Every time we get the ball, I kept trying to slow the ball down. We were moving it fast paced, but we weren’t trying to make any dumb mistakes. So, they just kept putting the ball in my hand, I was going to slow the pace down and then it was making it easier for us to score every time.”
Despite the loss, Booth understands that his team can bounce back in Saturday’s game against Randallstown. With a team that’s currently under development, he’s pleased with how things are coming along.
“Overall with the progression, we’re making strides,” Booth said. “One thing that I told our guys today is that ‘you’ve got to come out ready to play’. If we came out with the same effort that we came with in the second half, the game would’ve been a lot different.
“So, we’re a young team. It’s something that we can learn. You can learn that you have to come out ready to play the game regardless. We have to come out ready to play from the beginning. It’s hard to come back after you dig a hole for yourself and that’s what happened to us tonight.”
W (5-2): T. Cooper 27, K. Thompson 13, J. Allen 11, P. Gross 4, D. Pickney 4, K. Downs 3, J. Thomas 3, M. Grimes 2, T. Sykes 2