The Wilson Rams warded off the Curtis Vikings at home Saturday in a girls nonleague matchup, 56-50, after a tight fourth-quarter battle.
It was a big night for Wilson senior Kiki Knox.
Before the game, Knox — a four-year starter— stood in the middle of the court with her coach, Michelle Burge, and was recognized for scoring more than 1,000 career points with the Rams.
The short ceremony was a confidence booster for the 5-foot-10 forward.
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“After that, I knew that I had a role,” said Knox. “As soon as we started the game, I knew that I had to shoot. Seeing that and having that just shows that I have a specific role and I need to execute.”
On Saturday, Knox posted a double-double with 25 points and 15 rebounds.
Eight of the rebounds came on the offensive end, which led to plenty of second-chance points for the Rams (7-0, 4-0 3A Narrows).
It was a slow first quarter for Knox, who only scored four points, but she made her presence known in the second, scoring 12 of Wilson’s 17 points.
“I needed to get focused,” said Knox. “I was getting the ball (in the first quarter) and I didn’t know what to do with it. When I had the ball in the second I knew exactly what to do: Shoot.”
With the Rams leading the Vikings, 31-18, at halftime it seemed to be Wilson’s game to lose.
In the second half, Curtis (4-3, 3-0 4A SPSL) came out and was fouled on six straight possessions, leading to eight points. It was much of the same during the fourth quarter, in which the Vikings outscored the Rams, 21-13.
Suddenly, it was a close game.
“Our plan coming out was continuing to be aggressive, aggressive, aggressive,” said Curtis coach Jackie Thomas, “Wilson is a good team. And if you’re not aggressive, they’re going to get you on your heels and make you beat yourselves.”
The Vikings’ surge was sparked by the play of senior forward Cedrice Howard, who posted a double-double of her own: 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Howard leapt over the Rams defenders to secure some clutch offensive boards, keeping the Vikings close during the fourth.
The Vikings trimmed the Rams’ lead to six points with just under a minute to play, but could get no closer.
“Part of the game of basketball is working through whatever adversity is thrown your way,” Burge said. “I think we did just enough of a good job during the second half to come away with a good, solid team win.”