12/07/08 — Wayne Christian offense comes alive in second half

View Archive

Wayne Christian offense comes alive in second half

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 7, 2008 2:00 AM

Somebody finally flipped the switch -- after halftime.

Wayne Christian sputtered offensively and allowed Johnston Christian Academy -- primarily a junior varsity team -- to dictate the tempo. The Lions trailed by just two possessions at intermission.

Frustrated by 10 turnovers and lack of offensive consistency, the Eagles glanced at the scoreboard and shook their heads as they walked to the locker room.

"We told them they were playing a JV team at a JV level, and we needed to step up and play varsity basketball," said first-year Wayne Christian coach Franklin Brathwaite. "They finally played to their potential ... started making good decisions with passes and the offense in the second half. (The light bulb) just clicked on."

The Eagles erupted for 28 second-half points and handed the Lions a 47-31 defeat on the Class 1-A Carolina Christian Conference basketball scene. Wayne Christian (2-5 overall, 1-2 CCC) snapped a four-game losing streak, while Johnston Christian (1-7) dropped to 1-3 against league opposition this season.

"We needed it really bad," said Brathwaite of ending the skid. "It was an ugly win. We have got to get over our (slow) first-half starts. That's been our Achilles' heel so far this season."

Colton Woods' layup off Bradley Yelverton's assist and Ryan Combs' putback gave the Eagles their biggest advantage, 29-20, late in the third quarter.

Wayne Christian continued to flourish in its transition game and its defense created several steals off the Lions. Barely two minutes into the fourth quarter Woods hit three baskets and the Eagles had control at 37-24.

"Most of the second halves this season, we've played a team even or actually ahead," said Brathwaite. "Other times, we've gotten down (by big margins) and it's difficult to come back from that, or sustain anything on offense."

Woods led a balanced offensive attack with 10 points, all in the second half. Taylor Johnson added eight points, while Kyle Harrell provided seven first-half points. Yelverton finished five points and six second-half assists.

Luke Howell emerged the top rebounder with 12 and dished out four assists. Combs pulled down 11 boards, while senior cross country standout Justin Brathwaite snared eight rebounds. Overall, the Eagles collected a whopping 53 rebounds.

Wayne Christian had 11 assists as a team on 20 made field goals.

The Eagles return to action Monday at Faith Christian of Rocky Mount.