The pecking order for Wilson High School boys basketball is firmly established.
First, get Alphonso Anderson the basketball inside.
Off that, let David Jenkins, Ivy Smith, Jr. and Montre Brown penetrate and make plays off the dribble or shoot in-rhythm 3-pointers.
Somehow in all of that, Jamal Welch – the team’s most reliable senior – gets lost. Maybe it is because he has a laid-back personality. Or maybe it’s because he has been bitten by the injury bug much of his career and missed time.
But in huge scoring spurts – and in the key moments of the biggest games – Welch usually finds himself right in the middle of it.
It was Wilson-Lincoln, round III on Friday at Foss High School – with the winner claiming the Narrows 3A’s No. 1 seed.
The No. 4 Rams came out running, scratching, diving – and beat third-ranked Lincoln in every way. It all added up to a surprisingly-easy 69-54 victory.
Wilson (19-2) will get a first-round bye when the Class 3A West Central District tournament opens Monday. The Rams will play the Fort Vancouver-Peninsula winner Wednesday.
Lincoln, on the other hand, will take a much harder road. The Abes open with dangerous Hazen in a loser-out game Monday.
“(The bye) is huge,” Wilson coach David Alwert said. “Watching Hazen on film, they are a very athletic team. To play a loser-out when you have a good season like Lincoln … I feel bad.”
After Friday, Alwert feels pretty proud of what his team accomplished in the most pressure-packed game of the season – between the two best city programs.
And the Rams came out with a bang, starting with Smith’s 3-pointer, triggering a 7-0 Wilson run to start the game.
But arguably the key moment came right after that. During a loose-ball scrum near the Wilson 3-point arc involving four or five players from both teams, it got physical and it got pushy.
All three officials immediately intervened. So did Lincoln coach Aubrey Shelton, who scurried off the bench to try to help restore order.
When Shelton returned to the bench, he was whistled for a technical foul for leaving the bench. Heated, the Abes’ coach protested, to no avail.
“We were motivated to begin with,” Alwert said. “And that just doubled it.”
Jenkins made both free throws, and the Rams’ lead was 9-2 at the 6:02 mark of the game.
“I saw guys wrestling on the floor, so I go out there to help protect and break it up,” Shelton said. “(The referee’s) interpretation was there wasn’t a fight, so I couldn’t come on the floor. Who is to determine what is a fight when kids are rolling on the ground?”
And after that, Wilson just kept pouring it on. Welch hit half of the Rams’ four first-quarter 3-pointers, including one with 48 seconds remaining that gave Wilson a 24-9 advantage. A smooth scorer, he finished with a team-high 15 points.
“It is hard playing behind (the primary options), but it is a great team.” Welch said. “I love playing with Alphonso, David, Montre – it is great. I just go about it quietly.”
And when Welch comes off, the burly Kaun Thompson comes on at small forward, giving the Rams a different element. He added 10 points.
“We start with the speed (Welch),” Alwert said. “and then we come in with the brute force (Thompson).”
Ahmaad Rorie led all scorers with 22 points on 8-for-14 shooting for Lincoln. Trevion Brown added 12 points, much of them coming in garbage time. The Abes were forced into 13 turnovers.
“They just outplayed us, give them credit. They played a lot harder. They got to every loose ball, every rebound,” Shelton said. “And they were making their shots. They were ready to play. We weren’t.”
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442