3A North title goes to Mervo

Mervo 54 Walbrook 48

Boys basketball


Mervo's game plan against No. 2 Walbrook in yesterday's Class 3A North regional final was to keep possession as long as possible to keep the ball from the potent Warriors' offense.

With no shot clock, the visiting Mustangs held the ball for 30 and 40-second stretches before making their move to the basket. The strategy paid off as No. 12 Mervo held on for a 54-48 upset win over top-seeded Walbrook and avenged a 27-point loss in the regular season.

"We just wanted to be patient and slow Walbrook's tempo down," said Mervo coach Daryl Wade, whose team had to find transportation to the game because their bus failed to arrive. "We wanted to apply the pressure to them offensively to make them play defense. This is a huge win."

Senior Walter Sanders led Mervo, the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, with 18 points and six rebounds, while Antoine Wallace added 15 points, five rebounds and two assists.

The teams had eight lead changes in the first half and went to the locker room tied at 19 at halftime. In the second half, however, Mervo (21-4) began to attack more and opened a 42-29 lead with three minutes remaining. Meanwhile, Walbrook (21-5) became increasingly frustrated as the game went on and made 11 of 25 shots in the second half.

"We set the pace and they had to come at us," Wallace said. "We weren't trying to be too physical because we didn't want to get into foul trouble. We just stayed positive. I think we have a real good chance in the [state playoffs]."

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