Warriors overwhelm Aquinas in second half
WILKINSON CO. 85, AQUINAS 56
By Matt Middleton | Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Robert Turner flicked his wrist and splashed another 3-pointer through the rim, his third in less than two minutes.

If Aquinas was going to defeat powerful Wilkinson County on Monday night, this was the type of scoring it needed.

Except what Turner accomplished in the final minutes of the first half was more than matched by Wilkinson County the rest of the way. The Warriors scored 59 second-half points to run away with a 85-56 win.

Turner scored a game-high 28 points for Aquinas, but Wilkinson County negated that output with a prodding full-court press that overwhelmed Aquinas (4-3) in the second half.

The Warriors scored nine points in the first 45 seconds of the second half, then used an 18-1 run midway through the third quarter to lead by at least 20 points the rest of the game.

"The first three minutes of the third quarter was where we lost the game," Aquinas coach Bernie Norris said. "It's just one of those disappointing things, the second half. I sat over there and was in disbelief myself. I didn't think we fell behind by that many points so quickly."

Said Turner, "We should have never turned the ball over like that. We were prepared; it's just all about executing."

Wilkinson County (9-0) advanced to the state quarterfinals last year and looks at least that good this time around. Fitzgerald White, a 6-foot-6 forward who scored 25 points, shot 3-pointers in the third quarter as if they were layups. He swished two in the first 30 seconds and made five overall.

Turner, a 5-foot-11 left-handed junior, seemed to have no fear attacking the taller, quicker Warriors, at one point bringing his finger to his lips in a gesture meant to quiet the visiting crowd.

He finished with four 3-pointers and was effective driving into the lane with a right-handed spin move that seemed to always surprise defenders.

"Robert has been carrying us," Norris said. "We've been struggling offensively, not shooting the ball well. ... We got real passive in the second half."

Wilkinson County coach Aaron Geter Jr. said his team's pressure was just as fierce in the first half, but the Warriors were unable to turn steals into baskets.

Wilkinson County rarely needed to run a half-court offense in the second half and made up every missed shot with an offensive rebound.

"When you don't do that in the press, you're going to give up easy ones on the other end," Geter said. "They are going to be in ball games, so it was no surprise (to lead by only one at halftime). I'm just glad we decided to turn it on."

Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425 or matt.middleton@augustachronicle.com

Wilkinson County's Immanuel Shinholster (left) and Trey Bentley of Aquinas scramble for a loose ball Monday night.

From the Tuesday, December 22, 2009 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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