A change to a more patient and deliberate offensive strategy and approach helped the Wakefield Warriors win their first-round game of the boys 5A state basketball tournament.
Wakefield, normally a fast-paced, high-scoring high school team, edged the Deep Run Wildcats of Glen Allen, 50-48, March 5 at Robinson Secondary School. The Warriors (25-2) were scheduled to play the L.C. Bird Skyhawks (24-2) of Chesterfield in a state semifinal March 8 in Richmond.
The state semifinal appearance is Wakefield’s third in four seasons.
“We were able to change things up, slow it down and be more patient, and that worked,” said Wakefield junior point guard Alan Treakle, who was 8 of 10 from the foul line in the fourth quarter. “We followed our game plan.”
Treakle (10 points, four assists, six rebounds) gave Wakefield the lead for good at 47-46 by making two free throws with 1:11 to play. He then made a clinching foul shot with seven seconds left to up the lead to 50-46.
“I was very calm at the line,” Treakle said. “My teammates have faith in me, and I want to be there in that situation. I wasn’t nervous.”
Neither was Wakefield coach Tony Bentley.
“Give me Alan Treakle at the free throw line down the stretch anytime in that situation,” Bentley said.
The coach explained his staff believed the Warriors had the best chance to win against Deep Run (24-5) by slowing the tempo.
“Slowing it down, grinding it out and being patient is what we thought we had to do,” Bentley said.
The game was close throughout, with seven lead changes.
The Capitol Conference champion Warriors, led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter and 21-20 at halftime, despite eight first-half turnovers. Wakefield was in front 34-33 after three periods. A three-pointer by Deep Run’s Jorge Pacheco (27 points, six three-pointers) gave the Wildcats a 46-45 lead with 1:19 to play.
“That guy No. 1 [Pacheco] is a special player,” Bentley said.
After Treakle’s foul shots regained the lead for Wakefield, the Warriors then went up 49-46 with 22 seconds left when Eric Martin passed to Halil Parks (10 points) for a back-door layup.
Deep Run turned the ball over, its sixth giveaway of the quarter, then Treakle scored the Warriors’ final point with another foul shot.
Senior forward Deng Nhial had 12 points, seven rebounds and two assists for Wakefield and Amari Cooper had seven points, six rebounds and a block.
NOTE: In its previous games this season, Wakefield scored 50 points or fewer just three other times.