Okpara Scores 20 As Silverdale Downs Tyner, 68-58

Lady Seahawks Roll Over Lady Rams, 62-37

  • Wednesday, February 1, 2023
  • Eli Rushing

The Silverdale Seahawks put a rocky second quarter behind them after catching fire from three in the third period. They rose above the visiting Tyner Rams 68-58 on a night of celebration for starter Brett Wright.

Wright eclipsed one thousand career points on a first quarter score that prompted a timeout from head coach Slater Belew and a short photo op at halfcourt. Wright’s early points were followed by several more as he finished with seventeen on the night. His subtle relocation on the perimeter during fast breaks helped him get open for a pair of meaningful triples in the second half.

“Our team has rallied behind him. He’s an unbelievable character guy that is great for our locker room. He makes us better on the court and off,” Coach Belew said of Wright as he held back tears.

In the first half, the contest swung back and forth between teams. Tyner fought to push the pace and caught their opponent off guard with their speed. They intercepted several passes in a zone defense where they would hang off the offensive player only to rush in at the last possible second for the steal. This transition offense worked effectively and kept them in the thick of things despite the perimeter threats from the Seahawks offense.

The Ram’s gameplan came to a head in the final minute of the second quarter. They closed out the first half on a 9-2 run that was punctuated by an absolute monster of a dunk by Bishop Smith. Smith intercepted a pass by the left sideline before driving the length of the floor for the poster. Silverdale was so discombobulated following this burst of aggression that they allowed another score before the buzzer sounded and faced a six point deficit–their largest of the game–heading to the locker room.

Down six on their home floor, the Seahawks had some adjustments to make.

“Basketball is a roller coaster,” Coach Belew admitted. “It’s a game of pace and runs and we had to weather their runs. The kids really bought into our defensive philosophy heading out from halftime and we protected the rim much better in the second half.”

Silverdale came out of halftime with a renewed defensive focus that better contested the physical attacks of Tyner at the rim while also cutting down on sloppy turnovers. They effectively suffocated the Rams, holding them to just five points in the third while also knocking down a trio of three pointers to build their lead.

Another huge component of the Seahawks win was sophomore Kennedy Okpara. The six seven big man was involved on both ends of the floor. Whether it was dribble handoffs to cutting teammates, gravity defying blocks, or a buttery soft touch on finishes in the paint, Okpara did it all. He used his size, specifically in the second half, to deter many Rams’ drives away from the basket. Okpara led all scorers with twenty and feasted in transition against the full court press in the fourth quarter. He had two monstrous slams of his own which electrified the crowd and demoralized the visitors when the Seahawks needed him in the fourth.

Spotty free throw shooting from the Seahawks kept Tyner within striking distance in the final period, but the Rams could not get their shooters going and fell on the road by ten.

“Tyner is a really good team,” Coach Belew concluded. “We knew we’d have to play our best because year in and year out this is a team that is competing for district, region, and even state titles. It’s a great test for our guys before Friday”.

Silverdale Girls 62 Tyner 27: The ladies of Silverdale handled Tyner with relatively few bumps in the road. Though Tyner found many open looks from three, they failed to hit them at an effective rate. Silverdale cleaned the glass all night and kept the tempo high with cross court outlets and swift ball movement following Tyner misses. Taylor Bledsoe led the way for her team with eighteen points, scoring sixteen of those points in the second half. When the pressure was on to close the game out, she delivered. Kelsie Johnson brought the intensity in the first half of play with all fourteen of her points in the opening pair of quarters. This offensive tandem kept the lead at a comfortable distance and Silverdale earned the victory.

GIRLS SUMMARY

TYNER                       3    9    9    6    -    27

SILVERDALE           17  14  13  18   -    62

TYNER (27) - Shy Harrison 13, Mitchell 9, McCullough 3, Brookins 1, Williams 1

SILVERDALE (62) - Taylor Bledsoe 18, Kelsie Johnson 14, Gibson 8, Raby 8, Stinson 5, Littrelll 4, Cline 3, Owen 2

3-Point Goals: Tyner 1 (Mitchell); Silverdale 6 (Bledsoe 2, Johnson 2, Cline 1, Stinson 1)

Records: Tyner (10-11); Silverdale (15-12)

BOYS SUMMARY

TYNER                     22    14    5    17    -    58

SILVERDALE           17    13   19   19    -    68

TYNER (58) - Bishop Smith 19, Nicholas Smith 12, Rodney Henderson 10, K. Jackson 9, Bloodshaw 6, J. Jackson 2

SILVERDALE (68) - Kennedy Okpara 20, Houston Holland 18, Brett Wright 17, Elyjah Richardson 11, Caden McGraw 2

3-Point Goals: Tyner 4 (K. Jackson 3, N. Smith 1); Silverdale 7 (Holland 4, Wright 2, Richardson 1)

Records: Tyner (15-7, 5-1); Silverdale (13-11, 5-3)

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