By Carey Phillips
Mitch Wike scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half Friday powering Smoky Mountain to a 67-51 non-conference men’s basketball victory over Robbinsville at the SM gym.
Michael Todd added 12 points for the Mustangs (5-5), and Clayton Frady had 11.
Chris Wright and Brock Adams led the Black Knights with 13 points apiece.
“We jumped on them early and played a pretty good first quarter,” Coach Adam Phillips said. “Then we started letting them get to the rim and have second chance points, and that’s not us.”
SM’s lead was just two points entering the fourth quarter. Phillips said a 75-39 victory in the first meeting and Friday’s fast start could have led to some overconfidence.
“I think that had a little bit to do with it, but we didn’t play our game,” he said. “We didn’t rebound very well. I didn’t think our effort picked back up until the third quarter.”
Wike agreed that the previous game had an impact.
“I felt like the last game had an effect on us,” he said. “We came out with a little bit of a hothead and let that get to us. We played with emotion instead of passion and moving on to the next play. We prayed about it at halftime. I think God answered that prayer in a good way even though they took the lead. He knew what we were doing the whole time. We kept playing good defense. We finally got our match-ups in. We got big on the boards, which was key. They had run up and down the court and played our game better than we could. That wasn’t going to last very long. We got it together and came out and hit some shots.”
As for his play in the second half, Wike said, “I was in here praying about it and I was like ‘OK God, I’m gong to do what you want me to do right here win or lose.’ He answered it. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I tried to carry my team. In the first half I think I gave up a couple of easier shots that I know I could have made. In the second half I took those.”
The Mustangs dominated the first quarter. They used a 17-1 run, including eight by Frady, to lead 19-3 on Wike’s three-pointer with 26 seconds left and were up 19-6 entering the second period.
Robbinsville closed the half on a 13-2 spurt, including four each by Wright and Adams, cutting the gap to 26-24.
Adams had five and Wright four as the Knights scored the first nine points of the second half to lead 33-26 at the 6:14 mark.
With Wike scoring seven, SM closed the third period on a 12-2 run to take a 42-40 edge.
A pair of Wike three--pointers sparked a 9-1 spurt as the Mustangs went up 55-45 with 5:18 to play.
The final represented the game’s largest lead.
Five of Wike’s nine field goals were three-pointers, and he was four of four from the line. Todd hit four field goals and also made four of four free throws. Frady connected on four field goals and three foul shots.
Zeb Sink added five points, Conner Seagraves had four, and Ryan Waliezer, Jameson Madden, Hunter Cabe and Parker Flynn all had two.
The Mustang JVs fell to 4-6 with a 45-42 loss. Brylen Conlin scored 13 points, and Chase Gribble had 10.
Robbinsville led 14-11 after the first quarter. SM tied it 23-23 at halftime and was in front 34-30 entering the fourth period.
“I think we played hard for some parts of the game but obviously not enough,” Coach Tyler Mulligan said. “We had two kids (Antonio Lorenzo and Chase Worley) come off the bench and play really well. As a team, we are used to the guards scoring most of our points, and that didn’t happen. We didn’t have any post players who were able to step up and score for us. Defensively we played well. We just couldn’t get anything to fall.”