SANTA ANA, CA - Whitney Young-Chicago, one of the best teams from the state of Illinois, took a 2,000 mile trip to Nike Extravaganza 23 and wore down St. Augustine-San Diego, 74-56.
“We had to come out and show them how we like playing in Chicago,” said Javon Freeman, who had 17 points and two steals. Xavier Castaneda also put up 17 points on six-of-eight shooting for Whitney Young, to go along with five assists. Tyler Beard scored 15 points and junior Myles Baker came away with four of Whitney Young’s 18 steals.
Six-foot sophomore guard Tyson McWilliams contributed 10 points and two assist for St. Augustine. Six-foot-six Chibuzo Agbo led the Saints in scoring with 12 points in 18 minutes of play. “I felt like we definitely had a chance to win that game but we gave it away,” he said.
St. Augustine out-rebounded Whitney Young by five, but turned the ball over 25 times. Whitney Young scored 23 points off those turnovers, and limited themselves to 12 mishaps.
The game had no lead changes or ties, and each quarter was close in scoring. A strong third quarter, in Whitney Young’s advantage by nine points, tilted the outcome. St. Augustine trailed by just six at halftime and shot over 50 percent through the first two quarters. That mark dropped to 41 percent by the end of regulation, however, and Whitney Young’s superior athleticism had a lot to do with it.
Alex Dennis (nine points) of the Saints and Freeman of Whitney Young traded three-pointers to tip the third quarter off, but St. Augustine began to turn the ball over at a rapid pace. Baker scored multiple transition layups, and a St. Augustine airball led to the Dolphins’ third consecutive easy basket. Whitney Young took a 15 point lead into the fourth quarter, and never looked back.
Freeman scored four first quarter points, two from the foul line, and Dennis finished a nice and-one at the rim for St. Augustine. Whitney Young led 20-14 after the first, and the teams traded perimeter baskets to open the second quarter. Whitney Young pushed the tempo early and often, helping them stretch their lead to 36-30 by halftime.
Whitney Young travels back to Chicago 19-6, 7-2 in the Chicago Public-Red Northwest conference and ranked inside the Illinois top 10. St. Augustine is 14-6 and also 7-2 in conference, currently second behind Mission Bay in the Western League standings.