Right from the tipoff, it was a fast-moving faceoff Tuesday night for the boys-varsity teams of West Seattle High School and visiting Cleveland High School. The first minute alone contained two fouls and a jump ball. But the Eagles’ swarming defense and more-robust rebounding led them to the win, 66-53.
Cleveland forced WSHS into more outside shooting – the first Wildcat basket was a three-pointer, two minutes into the game, part of a short stretch in which the lead see-sawed before Cleveland started pulling further ahead toward the end of the first quarter. During the lead-swapping stretch, #2 Elijah Nnanabu had a memorable shot – a backhanded layup midway through the first quarter. He had nine points on the night:
9 was also the tally for #10 Roman Barnet, but the Wildcats’ top scorer was #5 Abdullahi Mohamed, with 13.
#23 Anthony Giomi had 8 for West Seattle, including two back-to-back baskets toward the game’s end, as the Wildcats worked on a comeback.
But throughout most of the game, the Eagles let little go unanswered, and kept up intense pressure, forcing turnovers they mostly managed to convert. The Wildcats’ fans, however, kept cheering them on – at one point as Cleveland built on their lead mid-second quarter, West Seattle battled for a basket and foul shot that led to big cheers as the Eagles’ lead was trimmed to 10. But Cleveland fought on and built to a 43-22 halftime lead.
Opening the second half, West Seattle kept pace, but wasn’t able to chip away at Cleveland’s edge, with the third quarter ending 57-38. The Wildcats’ fourth-quarter comeback started a few minutes too late.
Head coach Keffrey Fazio and his team are home again on Friday night for the final game of the regular season, vs. cross-town competitors Chief Sealth IHS (4 pm girls’ JV, 5:30 pm boys’ JV, 7 pm girls’ varsity, 8:30 pm boys’ varsity).