Wyoming avoids madness against Zeeland East with scoring burst in fourth quarter
Zeeland – In their district opener Monday night, Wyoming coach Thom Vander Klay anticipated his Wolves might encounter a maddening test against Zeeland East to tip off the postseason.
And, for three quarters, that’s just what happened.
The Wolves, who suffered only two losses in the regular season, summoned a little March magic of their own during the fourth quarter to pull away for a well-earned 71-59 victory over the Chix.
Wyoming (19-2) will play Hudsonville (13-7) on Wednesday in Class A district semifinal at 7:30 p.m.
Senior point guard Jacob Traylor scored 11 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter as the Wolves (19-2) extinguished any threat of madness. The Wolves outscored the Chix 24-16 in the last eight minutes of the contest.
“He got more in the flow,” Vander Klay said of his floor leader. “The ceiling is pretty high. Honestly, we think we can beat anybody. Our belief is we’re probably as good as anybody, but we’re not as big as anybody.
“So, we have to work harder. When we play bigger teams, we have to step up a little bit on that,” he added.
The Chix (12-9) slowed the tempo for much of the first three quarters.
Wyoming, which finished second in the Ottawa Kent Bronze Division this season, led by three following the first quarter. It stretched the lead to five at halftime, but East kept hanging around. The Chix connected for three 3-point field goals in the third quarter to trim the margin to 47-43.
An 8-0 run by the Wolves midway through the fourth quarter, however, dashed any hopes of an upset.
“We were more focussed on defense and pressuring the ball,” Traylor said. “I think it was a nice, hard game for the first game of districts. We love games like this because it keeps us focussed.
“We’ve got Hudsonville down the road and potentially Holland,” he said.” If we want to be state champions, we have to beat the best.”
Carlos Amoros, a senior shooting guard for the Wolves, had 17 points. He scored 11 in the second quarter, including three 3-pointers. Senior forward Jalen Primus finished with 12 points in the paint.
The Wolves also got seven points from senior forward Nicholas Staten and six from freshman guard Grant Nabors off the bench.
The Chix, who finished second in the OK Black Division this season, were led by junior forward Khylin Barton’s 19 points. He made three 3-point field goals.
Senior guard Ike Tilden scored 15 points and junior forward Ben Ritsema contributed 11.
“It was our game for three quarters where we kept it down and kept it slow,” East coach Mickey Cochran said. “Then, once you try to crash the boards a little bit, they leak out and they’ve got fast breaks. We just kind of lost track of them at that point (in the fourth quarter). They’re one of the top-five teams in the state for a reason. You gotta be able to hit those shots against a team like that.
“I just wished we would’ve knocked down (more) shots. That would’ve made it a little different. And, then, anything can happen.”