In the locker room, Wilson High School boys basketball coach Dave Alwert wrote what it would take for his team to beat Franklin.
Not that the Rams needed extra motivation in a matchup of unbeaten teams, young talent and AAU buddies, but Alwert added some any way.
One of his keys? Play for the 253.
With emotions flaring, Wilson pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 64-56 victory against the Quakers on Friday at the Tournament of Champions Holiday Classic at Franklin High School as the Rams took home bragging rights in the Tacoma-Seattle area-code matchup.
“For all these kids, it’s more than just a game,” Alwert said. “It’s a 206 versus a 253. Tonight was about who would have the bragging rights.”
The two teams combined for six technical fouls — four on Franklin, two on Wilson. The first half was littered with turnovers and missed shots, and both teams matched each other point for point.
But Wilson came out firing in the fourth quarter. After technicals were assessed to Franklin’s Braxston Carlton and Wilson’s Ivy Smith Jr. late in the third quarter, Wilson went on a run and took its biggest lead at 58-46 off Jamal Welch’s 3-pointer with about four minutes left.
Alphonso Anderson led the Rams with 16 points, David Jenkins scored 14 and Smith scored 10.
“We wanted to win more than they did,” Smith said. “It was just the Tacoma-Seattle rivalry. Any time you get a chance to play a Seattle team, you want to win and that’s what we did tonight.”
Wilson struggled on offense throughout the game, making just 35.4 percent (23 of 65) of its shots.
The Rams (7-0) made only 4 of 18 in the first quarter but led 11-9 because Franklin had eight turnovers. For the game, the Quakers (6-1) had 24 turnovers.
Franklin coach Craig Jackson walked into a silent locker room after the game.
“It’s the first time we’ve heard the locker room that quiet,” he said. “I told them, ‘Let’s see if you want to hear that sound again. Now you know how this feels.’”
Jackson didn’t emphasize the 253-206 rivalry as much as Alwert did but said his players know most all of Wilson’s team through the Rotary AAU team.
Franklin’s Eugene Artison, a Fresno State signee, led the Quakers with 17 points. He said he treats his relationship with Wilson’s Anderson like he’s a little brother, considering Artison, a senior, played on an older Rotary team than Anderson, a sophomore.
“I wanted to prove myself against him,” Anderson said. “He was on our older (AAU) team and I wanted to be on that older team. So I had to come out and play tonight.”
But with the emotions flying and occasionally chippy and sloppy play, the Rams were more composed down the stretch and showed they might not be as young as their roster might indicate.
“It’s a little early and we still have some selfish tendencies,” Alwert said. “But they are growing up. These guys are becoming men.”TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677 firstname.lastname@example.org