I said in our State Playoffs preview, that the 4A South region is going to be a wild one and it hasn't disappointed. Wednesday night the Wise Pumas, walked into what I thought was going to be an hostile environment, and turned it into their own environment, defeating the Flowers Jaguars 36-32, advancing to the Regional Semi-finals.
This was my first time watching these two schools this season, so I didn't know what to expect. I'm glad I did decide to come to this game because it was an entertaining one. These two met in early February, Flowers walking out with the W 47-46, so the tensions were high.
Like the first game, this was a low scoring affair, and it wasn't because of bad offense, both teams created some good looks but the defense on both sides was grade A. On the opening tip, Wise stole the ball and on the fast break Mike Spieght went up for a layup and Johnson Ogunyoye sent it into the stands, that pretty much set the tone for the game.
In the 2nd quarter, Flowers began to build some momentum thanks to some easy buckets inside. Right before the half, Tyrik Campbell throw nice alley-oop to Elliott Brown that gave the Jags a 19-16 lead going into halftime.
It didn't stop there for Flowers though, in the first 5 minutes of the quarter they went on 6-2 run, all because of some great defense. Wise 2nd leading scorer, sophomore Darron Barnes, averaging 17 a game, up to that point, was struggling to score inside against Flowers but he stayed aggressive and created some opportunities at the line. He finished with 8 points.
Wise other super Sophomore, Mike Spieghts did a wonderful job in the final stretch of the 3rd quarter and fourth. With 3 minutes left, Spieghts started a 7-0 run to tie the game at 25 going into the fourth quarter. Wise forced the Jags to commit 3 straight turnovers during that 7-0 run, Spieghts forcing 2 of them. I was very impressed with Spieghts especially since he is only sophomore. I give credit to Flowers' Benjamin Bullock because he had the responsibility of guarding Spieghts but he could not stop him from getting in the paint. Whenever Mike wanted to get to the rack, he got there.
Speight scored 20 of Wise's 36 points, and even though it might look like a one man show, this was a good team effort. Once Wise smelled blood in the final quarter, they strapped down on defense and attacked the boards heavy. Next up for Wise is the Bowie Bulldogs, who shocked Eleanor Roosevelt, 49-46.