Walls' big game enough for Hales
Updated: March 23, 2011 9:24AM
Dominique Walls plays like a human pogo stick. Just unwind him and let him go.
The Hales senior center showed off his full repertoire in scoring a game-high 19 points and adding nine rebounds and four blocked shot as the visiting No. 6 Spartans used their trademark balance, speed and skill to oust Proviso West 75-60 Tuesday night in Hillside.
The Spartans (21-3) dominated despite playing without senior star forward Aaron Armstead, who was held off for precautionary reasons in advance of the team's Catholic League showdown with No. 3 De La Salle Friday.
The Panthers counterpunched with the Spartans most of the first quarter. Hales' junior Eddie Alcantara (17 points, six rebounds, four assists) drilled a jumper at the end of the first quarter for a 23-19 lead.
Hales seized control with a 13-2 run in the opening four-and-a-half minutes of the second quarter.
"We stopped their ball movement and did a better job of picking up the defense and rebounding, because we gave them too many second chance opportunities in that first quarter," Walls said. Alcantara drilled a three-pointer at the first half buzzer for a 42-26 lead at the break. Alcantara scored 13 points in the first half.
"With Aaron being out again, that just increased the [scoring] load for everybody," Alcantara said. "Dominique picked it up offensively and made some great plays out there, especially the blocked shots and the rebounds."
Walls converted 9-11 shots from the floor. "I'm always ready to step it up," he said. "We go very hard in practice and that always prepares me for these big games. I can score if I have to."
Alcantara scored two quick baskets to fuel a 10-2 run at the start of the third quarter that propelled the Spartans to their largest lead at 52-28.
Behind the outside shooting of Tyrone McDonald (19 points, four three-pointers) and Nicholas Dixon (19 points), the Panthers stormed back. Proviso West center Clarence Heath (six points) scored on a putback that capped a 10-4 run and narrowed the deficit to 62-49 with 5:32 remaining.
Hales junior Aaric Armstead (17 points, six rebounds) responded with a three-pointer that sparked a 9-0 run and effectively ended the game.
Nicholas Frazier added 14 points for the Panthers (15-8).