By Art Redd
SJSports Staff Writer
Woodrow Wilson's road to the championship came to an end, but not the way they wanted. In the South Jersey Group 3 boy's playoff game held at Eastern High School, the Lakewood Piners finally ended the eleventh seeded Tiger's run at the title. The Piners were able to found a way to solve Wilson's aggressive defense and pull away for the 67-59 victory. Lakewood's DyQuan Randolph and J.R. Smith had all of the answers against Woodrow Wilson in this championship game.
During the basketball season, usually you can measure a team's success by the fans that attend the game. But when your team just happens to be the visitors on someone else's basketball court, you would expect a parse crowd sitting on the visitor's bleachers. Woodrow Wilson would have the luxury of home as the Tiger's faithful traveled along with their school as they watched their team make it to the group finals. Even though Lakewood had a greater distance to travel from Monmouth County, they would also have their fans representing their school for this game.
It didn't take long to find out who were the shooters for Lakewood in this game as J.R. Smith launched a healthy three pointer in the first quarter that hit nothing but the bottom of the net. A second shooter by the name of DyQuan Randolph was the player who single-handed matched the total points scored by the Tigers in the first quarter. Randolph's 14 points paced Lakewood to a 23-14 first quarter lead. Wilson would get 10 points from Eriq Rosado in the second quarter, but too many missed opportunities by the team kept the Tigers from eliminating their deficit at the half.
It seemed as if Lakewood would continue their dominance over their opponent at the start of the second half when Smith connected on two 3 pointers to build a 10 point lead with 2:34 showing on the third quarter clock. But a late run by the Tigers reduced the Lakewood lead to two points as an 8-0 run highlighted by aggressive defense gave Wilson life again. Preston Brown's first basket of the fourth quarter for Wilson tied this game at 52 apiece. The Piners matched Wilson with an 8-0 run of their own to jump out to a 60-52 lead with 2:18 remaining in the game. From that point on, Lakewood never relinquished their lead as they would be crowned the South Jersey Group 3 champs.
Lakewood's success through the brackets started with win over the fourth seeded Deptford Spartans and the number one seeded Willingboro Chimeras. Earl J.R. Smith had a game high 26 points, DyQuan Randolph added 18 points and Adrian Edwards dropped in 10 points for the Piners from Lakewood. Woodrow Wilson was lead by both Eriq Rosado and Kris Polk with 18 points each.