Berkeley Shootout: Newsome hangs on, host wins
TAMPA — Newsome boys basketball coach Barry Jacobs had seen enough of Wharton over the last few years to know Saturday's game was not going to be easy.
Before they stepped onto the court to face their former district rivals, Jacobs said he reminded his team not to get too comfortable, even if it was able to hold an advantage. So when the Wolves took a 16-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter, only to watch it dwindle to one after a 15-0 Wharton run with three minutes left, Jacobs' players were well prepared.
Deven Russell and Isayah Franklin hit back-to-back 3-pointers to swing momentum back and lift Newsome to a 48-43 victory at the Berkeley Shootout.
"It's just a great job by our guys," Jacobs said. "We came off a tough loss (Friday) night in our first district game against Alonso and you don't know how they're going to respond off a loss like that.
"It was good to see them come back early against a very good Wharton team."
Behind Justin Stewart's game-high 14 points, the Wolves never trailed, using a 10-0 run in the second quarter to take an 11-point lead into halftime.
Still, the Wildcats held strong despite a shaky third quarter in which they didn't hit a shot from the floor for more than six minutes.
After a layup by Russell gave Newsome a 40-24 lead 53 seconds into the final period, Wharton senior shooting guard Evan Trice (11 points) started the Wildcats' long run, which lasted more than four minutes.
But Wharton never found the clutch basket to go ahead as a desperation 3-pointer by Matthew Tonelli clanked off the rim with one second left. Newsome's Isiah Islam finished it at the free-throw line with a pair of shots after being fouled with 0.4 seconds remaining.
"We expected it to be a tight game," Jacobs said. "There's quit in them and there's no quit in us.
"That usually makes for a great ending."
In the second game, tournament host Berkeley Prep rolled past Plant 73-59.
Buccaneers senior power forward Jacob Mathis finished with a game-high 22 points and five rebounds as Berkeley pulled away on a 12-0 run in the third quarter.
Junior forward Kaleeyl Findlay added 20 points and 10 boards.
"It was nice to win; the team played pretty well," Mathis said. "We missed some easy shots and we were slacking on defense a little bit, but we'll pick that up."