Streaking Willowbrook wins 9th straight
A red-hot team with a dangerous inside-outside attack is not what you want to go up against when trying to rally from a slow start.
Host Addison Trail learned that lesson all too well as Willowbrook held off any and all surges the Blazers tried to make Tuesday night as the visiting Warriors prevailed 73-61 for their ninth straight win.
Willowbrook (13-8, 5-1) led 19-8 after one quarter following Noah Campbell's 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in the opening quarter and then matched that 19-point figure in both the second and third quarters while taking a 57-49 lead into the final eight minutes of play. The Blazers closed to within five points in the fourth quarter before Campbell and Marquel Saleek ended any comeback hopes by the home team.
"We know we've got to keep that energy up," said Campbell, whose fourth 3 on the night gave his team a 70-51 lead midway through the fourth quarter. "I'm confident in my shots, but we're all playing much better now. We're playing more as a unit in the second half. Other guys are stepping up and knocking down shots."
There were plenty contributors on Tuesday and there have been a variety of players coming up big for Willowbrook, which has not lost since the calendar flipped over to 2022. But on this night, Campbell finished with 22 points and Saleek added 17 to lead the way, and the Warriors' attack connected on seven 3s but also burned the Blazers with many points in the paint.
"We had to learn from the beginning of the season," said Saleek, who had 10 points in the second half. "Early on we were mostly just from the outside, but now we can get it inside and they can't guard both of them. They're going to have to chose."
Saleek has been pairing up well with Campbell this season, but knows it will take the whole team playing well to stay hot the rest of the way.
"We have a lot of confidence in one another and we know if somebody misses a shot we're going to get it back on defense," Saleek said. "I'm confident in Noah making any shots. Most of my assists are going to come from Noah [baskets], and I know my teammates also will find me. We're just all confident."
The Blazers (10-8, 3-3) had four players score in double figures led by Joey Morales with 13 and including flashy freshman Luke Smith, whose 10 points included a pair of acrobatic drives to the basket. Jacob Daniels and Nathan Johnson each tallied 12 points, but it was Addison Trail's defense that couldn't quite keep up with the Warriors.
"Those two guys, Campbell and Saleek are really good," Addison Trail coach Brendan Lyons said. "We talked just now during our postgame about getting off to a slow start. We've got three losses in a row now and that's been kind of a consistent thing. We get down, we claw back in and then teams make a run on us in the fourth quarter and we can't stop them. In the fourth quarter those two guys were making just about everything."