Pinson, Wesleyan net 42-40 win
Theo Pinson knew his team needed a game where it had to grind out a win. The North Carolina recruit didn’t want to get too complacent this early in the season — especially in front of his future coach, Roy Williams.
Despite only shooting 30 percent from the field, Wesleyan Christian Academy grinded out a 42-40 victory Friday night over Christ School in a matchup featuring two national powerhouse basketball programs. Williams, the 11th year head coach of the Tar Heels, was in attendance to see Pinson finish with 13 points. He will be playing for UNC next season.
“We know every team that comes in here is going to give us their best shot. We struggled tonight. That was really the first time in a while that we really struggled to shoot the ball well.” Pinson said.
With 4.6 seconds remaining, Pinson was on the line with a chance to ice the game but missed both free throws. He previously missed the front end of a one-and-one with 25 seconds remaining.
Christ School’s golden opportunity to win the game came as time expired, but the 3-pointer was short. A controversial no-call from the officials left the Greenies calling for goaltending after Wesleyan defender Donovan Gilmore looked to have touched the ball as it was coming off the rim.
“The officials made the right call, but it definitely was too close. We can’t have our guys taking a risk like that.” Wesleyan head coach Keith Gatlin said. “But tonight we didn’t defend, at all. They out played us and could have beaten us.”
The Trojans finished the game 2 of 16 from the 3-point line, and didn’t make its first triple until 2:55 remaining in the third quarter. WCA’s poor shooting left it trailing after the first, second and third quarter.
“We’re thin right now, we’ve had some injuries but we’re going to have to play smarter than that. We really needed a game like that though.” Pinson said.
Putting together a 12-2 run to start the third quarter looked as if the Trojans were back in its normal form, but costly turnovers and missed shots kept Christ School hanging around.
But in the fourth quarter the Greenies were held to five points on only two field goals, and turned the ball over five times. The Trojans forced 16 turnovers total.
Senior point guard JaQuel Richmond, who finished with 15 points, played a big factor in the second half by putting pressure on the Greenies guards and making some critical foul shots.
“It killed us that we missed that many foul shots, I’ve never missed four straight like that. That’s got to change.” Pinson said.
Wesleyan (6-1) has been considered one of the top programs in North Carolina this season but has been faced with several injuries. Standout sophomore Harry Giles has been ruled out for the season due to a knee injury.
The Trojans will host Victory Christian Center on Tuesday and will gear up for their next national powerhouse showdown on December 20 against Oak Hill Academy.
In the girls game, Carolina Day (7-0) was too much for the Trojans to handle as it cruised to a 44-32 victory. Eight-grader Nicole Mackey led WCA with 16 points, followed by Ebany Zappone (12 points) and Anna Massey (9 points).
WCA’s girls slipped to 4-4 overall with a game Tuesday against Victory Christian Center.