LANDIS — A.L. Brown’s Joekeem Neal picked a great time to have his breakout performance of the season.
The speedy guard notched 15 of his game high 23 points in the decisive fourth quarter as the Wonders cruised past a short-handed South Rowan squad Wednesday night, 86-72.
“I just tried to put my team in a position to win,” Neal stated. “I felt like I needed to score. We needed to come in and get a win since they beat us at out house.”
The Raiders (2-3) were playing without their two post players Lavon Hill (injury) and T’Vadis Graham-Wesley (two-game suspension), but they were matching the Wonders (2-2) basket for basket early in the fourth quarter. Quan Rhyne drilled a pair of threes to open the final quarter and stake South to a 58-52 lead but it all wilted from there.
With Neal scoring and Kyrell Wiliamson dominating the boards, the Wonders posted an impressive 34 points in the final quarter to win going away.
“We were more aggressive in the second half offensively and that allowed us to play better defense,” Brown coach Shelwyn Klutz noted. “Jokeem did a great job for us coming off the bench and scoring the key points.”
Neal scored six points to put the Wonders up 67-61 but the Raiders rebounded to know the score at 70-70 on a Christian Holbrook lay-up with 3:01 left. But it was all Wonders from there as Neal, Greg Joyner and David Tripp scored key buckets.
“I was glad for our effort,” Raider coach Bryan Withers stated,” With both of our bigs out, we took that as a challenge to see what our kids could do. We were playing a lot of people out of position and they played their hearts out. But we just wore down. “
Rhyne with 22 and fellow guard Shawn Spry, 23, provided the bulk of the Raider offense while Holbrook had a solid effort with nine points and eight rebounds before fouling out.
Following Neal for the Wonders, Tripp scored 15 and Jaylon Neal, Jokeem’s cousin, scored 14. They also dominated the boards with Tripp and Neal grabbing eight each. They also got eight eight offensive rebounds for putbacks on missed free throws to spark the offense.
AL BROWN (86) — Jo. Neal 23, Tripp 15, Ja. Neal 14, Williamson 9, Joyner 9, Grier 7, Johnson 3, Endicott 2, Cagle 1, Harris, Camp.
SOUTH (72) — Spry 23, Rhyne 22, Holbrook 9, Goldston 6, Stewart 4, Childers 3, Wilder 3, Rary 2, Littlejohn, Finger.
AL BROWN 14 22 16 34 — 86
SOUTH 14 24 14 20 — 72
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