3rd quarter key in Wildcats’ victory

Published 12:48 pm Monday, December 30, 2019

Varnado outscored St. Martin’s Episcopal, 26-10, in the third quarter after trailing by two at halftime and went on to a 64-36 victory over St. Martin’s Episcopal in Friday afternoon’s home game.
“We went into the locker room at the halftime and coach (D.W. Trosclair) told us that we needed to step our game up, so we came out and started pressing them and they couldn’t handle the press. All we had to do was slow down with the ball and make our layups,” said Varnado’s Kim McGowan Jr., who led the Wildcats with 18 points in a balanced scoring attack by the home team. “In the first half, we were missing our layups and we had to make up for it in the second half.”
Varnado trailed 21-19 at halftime, but came out strong in the third quarter. The Wildcats opened the period with an 18-2 run that included the first eight points.
Varnado tied the game just 21 seconds into the period when Miguel Fland hit a shot and got fouled. He missed the free-throw attempt, but his field goal tied the contest at 21-21.
The Wildcats took a 23-21 lead on Trevin Haynes’ bucket with 6:52 on the clock. Fland added to the lead 14 seconds later on Fland’s made basket. Then a steal led to Fland hitting a basket, and Varnado had a 27-21 lead with 6:32 to go in the third quarter. St. Martin’s Episcopal Monte Lewis stopped the run momentarily when he got inside for two points to make it 27-23 with 6:20 to go.
But Varnado ran off 10 more in a row.
Michael Fland started the run with a bucket to push the lead back to six at the 6:09 mark before McGowan and Zyquantay Bickham both knocked down 3-pointers to make it a 35-23 lead at the 4:59 mark. Bickham hit another shot to cap the run and Varnado had a 37-23 lead with 4:35 to go, and the Wildcats maintained the 14-point lead through three quarters at 45-31.
“It was more of what he (McGowan) just said,” Trosclair said. “I really got on them at half about defense. That’s what our team is built on. Defensively, we had to play better and we had to come out with a little more pressure. We weren’t pressuring the wings as we usually do.
“This is our first home game, so the guys were kind of emotional. Emotions were high, happy to see everybody come out to see them to play and I think it was just that effort at halftime that gave us that push.”
Trosclair said he was happy to see the fans came out to see the team play.
“We’ve been road warriors all year. You know we have. I’m glad that we have because I think at this point in the season, it’s made us a better team pressure wise. So I think these guys are about to start living up to what they do best, which is defense,” Trosclair said.
Miguel Fland posted 14 points for the Wildcats.
Michael Fland had nine points, while Bickham recorded seven, Dameon Roberts posted six points, Elizah Miller had five and Montez Trosclair, Haynes and Caluntay Jackson all posted two. Roberts made two 2-pointers, while Bickham and Miller were good on one each.
Lewis led St. Martin’s Episcopal with 17 points.
Avery Boutchard had eight, while Peyton Raines tallied three, Braden Bourgeois had two and Nate Dozier added one. Boutchard made a 3-pointer.
This game begins a stretch of five-straight home games for Varnado. The Wildcats’ next contest will take place Friday against Belaire. J.V. tips off at 2 p.m.

Varnado’s Kim McGowan Jr. goes up for a shot in Friday’s home game. McGowan led Varnado with 14 points.