Tuesday, March 11, 2014
By Tom Chard firstname.lastname@example.org
WESTBROOK — As a junior a year ago, Aquoi Alexander didn’t get much playing time for a senior-laden Westbrook High boys’ basketball team.
Spencer Hodge of Windham drives to the basket Friday night as Moses Abwoch of Westbrook defends Friday night during their SMAA boys' basketball game at Warren Gym. Westbrook took control early and rolled to a 60-46 victory.
Now he’s making up for lost time.
Alexander, a 6-foot-2 guard, scored a game-high 22 points Friday night to lead Westbrook to its second victory of the season, 60-46 over Windham.
This was an example of the parity in the SMAA.
Westbrook (2-6) entered ranked 16th of the 17 teams in Western Class A. Windham (4-4) was ranked fifth.
But Westbrook’s athleticism and control of the boards made this a one-sided game even though the Eagles made nine 3-pointers.
Westbrook took one 3-pointer in the game and missed late in the fourth quarter.
The Blue Blazes, under first-year Coach Mike Burke, led 12-4 after the first quarter and then 29-13 at halftime.
Alexander, sophomore Demetrious Hoskins and senior Chris Connolly controlled the paint, and sophomore Moses Abwoch ran the offense for the Blue Blazes
“We wanted to get out to a fast start,” said Alexander. “That was a key to the game.”
Alexander, on drives or short jumpers, scored 12 points in the first half. Hoskins finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
“It was important that we came out with energy,” said Burke. “We were a little more deliberate in the offensive end, which enabled us to set up our defense.”
Set up the offense, take good shots and pound the boards were Westbrook’s keys.
It was a different scenario from the Blue Blazes’ last game, when they took 16 3-pointers, made only one, and shot 6 of 16 from the line.
“Do you think being patient on offense was a point of emphasis at practice?” said Burke.
“We wanted to go to the basket and we wanted to get good shots.”
The Blazes were 18 of 30 from the line.
The fourth quarter cut into Westbrook’s percentage at the line; it made only 9 of 18. Alexander was 8 of 10 from the line for the game.
Alexander, the team’s leading scorer, is making opponents take notice.
“He’s tough going to the basket and he makes his foul shots,” said Burke. “Aquoi is probably underrated. He didn’t get a lot of playing time last season. This is sort of a coming-out party for him.
“He gets things going with his ability to penetrate and he has a nice pull-up jumper. If we shoot 30 free throws every game, we’re going to win a lot of basketball games.”
A layup by Hoskins with 1:43 left in the third quarter provided Westbrook with a 43-23 advantage.
“Hoskins played very well,” said Burke. “He did nice work around the basket while providing a lot of energy. He’s a good young player who is learning. The team is young and inexperienced.
“Every win from here on out is key.”
Windham, finally finding its stroke from 3-point range in the second half, cut the lead to 10 with a minute left to play. Connolly then scored inside and Hoskins made two from the line in the final seconds.
The Eagles outscored the Blue Blazes 18-13 in the fourth quarter.
“We’re usually a pretty good 3-point shooting team,” said Windham Coach Kevin Millington.
“We made a lot of 3-pointers tonight but we missed a lot more and we didn’t get too many 2-pointers. We’re not a big team and we couldn’t contain Westbrook’s athletic players inside.”
Point guard Markus D’Andrea led Windham with 21 points, including three 3-pointers.
Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: