Rick Prim understands what he needs to do on defense.
“My teammates put the pressure on me to go get the ball, and that’s all I need to do, play defense and just go get the ball,” said the Sanderson senior guard.
So in Friday’s Cap-8 Conference opener against Wakefield, Prim stayed true to his game, even stealing the hopeful visitors’ striking distance. Spartans boys’ basketball coach Mike Shaw called for his team to push its efforts on that side of the ball after halftime of its 58-43 victory over the Wolverines.
Four second-half steals from Prim created eight points. He was physical and energetic, pressuring the dribble and getting his hands on the ball.
“We talked about going into the fourth quarter and picking up the energy level,” Shaw said, “and (Prim) really brings a lot of energy for us. He’s very active on defense and it kind of sparks our team. Just him bringing that energy and that intensity on defense really fueled that whole defensive stand we had to start the fourth quarter.”
Wakefield (2-5, 1-0) came within eight points in the second half. In the final quarter, the Wolverines didn’t score until inside the 3-minute mark. Kyle Lim drained a corner three from Marius Cooper (game-high three assists), but the damage was done.
After trying to force the ball inside just to get stuffed by Sanderson’s defense throughout the night, Wakefield shot 28 percent from the field.
Sanderson’s defensive spark furthered its balanced offense.
Three scorers finished in double figures, led by senior Vince Friedman with 14, as the Spartans (5-2, 1-0 Cap-8) shot 49 percent.
Prim created some of that offense, too.
After a takeaway in the second quarter, he got ahead to finish a neat layup to give his team a 29-16 lead with less than a minute before halftime.
Sanderson created an early lead after a Taj Thompson 3-pointer provided some momentum. Thompson was the second leading scorer with 12 points and didn’t make his next basket until the 5:12 mark of the second quarter, when Sanderson was up, 23-10.
Antonio Freedman rounded off double figures for the Spartans with 10 points, going 4-of-4 in the first half.
“He’s an incredible talent. At halftime, we said we need to keep feeding him the ball and getting it inside,” Shaw said of the senior forward. “I thought we did an OK job in the second half, and I think they made some key adjustments to keep the ball out of his hands. Every night with this group, it’s a different guy leading us. They’re not worried about getting their minutes, they’re not worried about getting their points, and that says a lot about them as teammates.”
Wakefield senior forward Loris Lawson scored a team-high six points. Friedman, Lawson and Wakefield senior Patrick George each pulled down six rebounds.
Ball movement favors Wakefield girls in win over Sanderson
Wakefield’s Peris Pavlinac led the game with 20 points in her team’s 65-45 victory Friday night. She finished 3-of-4 from three-point range in a productive third quarter.
In that period, six of seven Wakefield assists led to 3-pointers. The Wolverines shot 54 percent (7-of-18) from behind the arc and finished with 10 assists.
Wakefield’s Gabby Donaldson led the game with five assists, adding 11 points.
Sanderson pulled within two in the first half, and trailed 22-18 at the break before Wakefield reeled off 29 points in the third quarter. The visitors kept the pace when Sarah Moody struck for five quick points off the bench in the fourth.
It was Sanderson’s second straight game where it lost by at least 15 points, as the Spartans remained winless on the year.
Nicole Mitchell led Sanderson with nine points and two assists. Sanderson’s Faith Hoover led the game with six boards.
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan