Point guards love nothing more than to reward their big guys up front with the basketball. Especially on a fastbreak that leads to a big slam-dunk finish.
Warren senior Jameris Smith has had the good fortune of finding Toledo-bound senior and teammate Nathan Boothe before. And on Saturday night in a North Suburban Conference Lake Division contest at Zion-Benton, the Smith-to-Boothe connection was in fine shape once again.
After a Smith rebound, two dribbles led to a long bounce pass that found a hustling Boothe for a backboard shaking dunk. It only counted for the regulation 2 points, but it was a big play emotionally in a night full of them for the Devils as they rolled past Zion 70-52 for their eighth straight win.
"For me, I like to pass better than scoring," said Smith who dished out 5 assists to go with his 7 points and 6 rebounds. "I like getting it to Nate because he dunks and it really gets us going."
Boothe got Warren (17-2, 8-1) going early, scoring 13 of his game-best and career high-tying 28 points in the first quarter. When foul trouble saddled the big man in the second quarter, it was clear to see how valuable he was as Zion-Benton cut into the Warren lead trailing just 32-26 at the break.
"I don't try play trying to not foul, but a couple times in the second quarter I got into trouble," Boothe said. "I worked on standing straight up and not jumping on the pump fake, but jumping when they jump."
Zion-Benton (8-11, 2-8) closed to within 32-28 early in the third quarter before Warren pulled away. A decisive 15-2 run keyed by 9 points from Boothe gave the Devils their biggest cushion of the night at 49-33 after 3 quarters.
"We hung with (Warren) in the first half but they obviously had a good, good third quarter there," said Zion coach Don Kloth. "There was one segment there in the third quarter where (Warren) went inside and that was too much for us to handle."
Warren extended the lead to as many as 30 points in the second half as they handed Zion-Benton its third straight loss while earning coach Chuck Ramsey career win number 394.
"We had a good start tonight but at times we started to get a little sloppy there in the first half," Ramsey said. "I thought we were much better in the third and part of the fourth quarter, particularly rebounding the ball."
Western Michigan-bound senior Darius Paul chipped in with 13 points and 14 rebounds to pace the Devils. Milik Yarbrough started after missing Friday's game against Lake Zurich and led Zion with 17 points.