Taj Thompson’s fourth quarter performance is exactly what Sanderson needed in order to grab a 61-58 win over Orange on Thursday night.
Thompson scored all but one of his team-high 14 points in the fourth quarter of the victory.
“It took him three quarters to kind of get in the rhythm,” Sanderson coach Mike Shaw said. “He shot the ball really well, had a lot of confidence, and handled the ball very well. He played great. I’m proud of him.”
Both teams had a rough start to the game. Before Orange’s Connor Crabtree converted an and-1 layup at the 6:26 mark, both teams combined for seven turnovers.
“We hadn’t played in 16 days and I think it showed,” Shaw added. “We have to learn from the mistakes we made. We play Riverside tomorrow so it’s really no time to correct things.”
Orange (0-2) held the lead for the majority of the game, but things began to fall apart in the fourth quarter. The young Panthers team struggled to find someone to create scoring opportunities without Connor Crabtree on the floor.
“He had four fouls and that really hurt us,” Orange coach Greg Motley explained. “He’s a big part of what we do.”
Crabtree consistently made plays for himself as well as his teammates, finishing the game with 15 points. Teammate Daniel Mulligam had a game high 18 points, while Logan Vosburg also chipped in 15.
With 7:53 to go in the game, a defensive foul was called on an Orange player. He then proceeded to slam the ball on the floor, which resulted in a technical foul. Sanderson’s Joshua Fife went to the line and knocked down both free throws, tying the game at 49. Thompson would then hit a three pointer and gave Sanderson (2-1) its first lead of the second half.
Three who mattered
Taj Thompson, Sanderson: Thompson really came on strong in the fourth quarter. He knocked down two threes and hit some clutch free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
Daniel Mulligam, Orange: The senior forward constantly attacked the basket early, scoring 13 of his 18 points in the first half. Mulligam gave them a boost when they needed one in the second quarter.
Logan Vosburg, Orange: Vosburg’s wide frame gave Sanderson problems all night. The big man made his presence felt on both sides of the ball.
By the Numbers
48: Combined points scored from Mulligam, Crabtree, and Vosburg
8: Travel violations were called in the game
4: Different players scored in double figures for Sanderson