The Orange Leader
WEST ORANGE —
Even though they received a tough challenger from Hardin-Jefferson, the West Orange-Stark Mustangs remained perfect and in first-place all alone in the District 21-3A standings by holding off the Hawks 56-48 at Mustang Gym Saturday evening.
The Hawks (25-5, 4-3) battled the Mustangs (21-7, 8-0) hard throughout but WO-S was able to grab a double-digit lead early on in the fourth quarter to nab the win.
Senior Laquarious Paige, who will play at Indiana State next season, found the hot hand in the second half and led the Mustangs with 15 points and five rebounds. He scored 10 of his points in the decisive second half.
Deionte Thompson tallied 14 points and grabbed five rebounds for the Mustangs. Guard Brandon Joubert filtered in 10 points while Tre Spencer added six.
Richie Hall led the Hawks with a game-high 18 points and scored H-J’s first nine points of the game. Post Brady Haskett contributed 10 points and six rebounds for H-J. The WO-S defense kept prolific H-J scorer Zjori Bosha in check throughout the game, limiting the outstanding senior to just six points. Bosha did have eight rebounds. Dylan Mays led the Hawks with 10 rebounds. H-J actually outrebounded the Mustangs 32-19.
The Mustangs led 38-34 entering the fourth period.
Paige then got hot, scoring a couple buckets in a row. Thompson scored a couple inside baskets and Joubert busted a three-pointer and all of a sudden the Mustangs found themselves up 54-44 with 2:50 remaining to keep the Hawks at bay.
The Hawks led 9-2 in the early going as Hall scored all nine Hawk points in the run.
WO-S answered nicely, scoring nine of the next 11 points to make it a 11-11 game at the end of the first period. Spencer scored five of his points in the quarter, including a three-pointer.
The Hawks went on a 8-1 run to start the second period to go up 19-12 as Haskett scored six of his eight points in the period.
The Mustangs responded nicely, going on a 11-2 spurt of their own to grab a 23-21 edge as Paige, Thompson and Corey Carcisse each hit critical three-pointers. WO-S went into intermission with a 25-24 edge.
WO-S outscored the Hawks 13-10 in the third period with Joubert scoring five of his points in the quarter, including an important three-pointer.
The Mustangs finished with seven three-pointers while the Hawks converted just one.
WO-S protected the ball well, forcing H-J into 17 turnovers while having just eight of their own.
Both teams shot poorly from the charity stripe with each team going just 11-of-21 from the free-throw line.
The Mustangs will have a bye Tuesday and will visit Orange County rival Orangefield on Friday.