Standout debut for Wilkins

Standout debut for Wilkins
January 08
00:00 2015
(Photos by Charles E. Leftwich Jr, Above:. Isaiah Wilkins scores for Mount Tabor last week.)

Isaiah Wilkins made the most of his junior varsity basketball debut in Mount Tabor’s first game of the New Year. The freshman power forward came off the bench to deliver 21 points and eight rebounds in a 79-63 victory over Parkland last week.

The arrival of Wilkins, who was moved up from the 9th grade team over the Christmas break, couldn’t have come at a better time. With starting power forward Kai Leslie (10 points, five rebounds) forced to sit the bench for extended stretches because of foul problems, Wilkins’ input as a low-post presence was critical.

sports,  Willie Harrison

Tabor Coach Willie Harrison huddles with his players

“Isaiah will definitely help us as we move forward in conference play,” said Coach Willie Harrison of Mount Tabor. “I was very pleased with the energy he brought, especially on the boards. He’s a solid player who doesn’t try to do more than what he’s capable of doing. If he can bring that high-level energy every night, he’s going to get a lot better and so will we as a team.”

Mount Tabor (11-2, 3-0 Central Piedmont 4-A Conference) began to pull away from Parkland in the final minutes of the first half. Jayden Peoples dribbled through traffic and hit an 18-foot jumper right before the buzzer to put the Spartans up 35-29 at intermission.

By the end of the third quarter, Mount Tabor pushed its lead to double digits. The Mustangs turned up the heat defensively in an effort to fuel a comeback, but could never get any closer than eight points of the lead.

Even though the Spartans won handily, Harrison understands that his team must get better in order to be viable contenders in the CPC. Improving on-court communications and playing collectively are his major concerns.

sports,  Kobe Young (10) Jayden Peoples

Photos by Charles E. Leftwich Jr. Kobe Young (10) of Parkland drives past Jayden Peoples of Mount Tabor.

“We need to do a better job of taking care of our defensive assignments,” he said. “A lot of that has to do with how well we communicate with each other. At this point, our offense isn’t operating in the way it should. Our players must understand that it’s going to take more than one player doing well for us to be successful as a team.”

As things turned out, ball-handling errors, blown defensive assignments and personnel losses proved to be too much for Parkland to overcome. Nana Cole provided much needed points in the paint and rebounds in the first half (7 points, 5 rebounds) against Mount Tabor. Cole’s court time, however, was cut short when he twisted an ankle late in the second quarter and never returned. Sharpe was promoted to Parkland’s varsity last week so he’s no longer available for jayvee duty.

Parkland (7-3, 1-2 Central Piedmont) had three players to score in double figures. Point guard Jelani Hash led the way with 21 points, Kobe Young contributed 19, and Casey Wilkins finished with 13 points.

“We were able to match them intensity-for-intensity,” said Coach Shawn Smoot of Parkland. “But we had far too many turnovers. That’s what really killed us. They executed well off of our mistakes. Now that the holiday break is over, we’ll get in the gym and start putting things back together again.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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